Light goes With Darkness

“When a person attains realization, it is like the moon reflecting on the water.” Here according to Dogen it is not because of our individual effort that the moon reflects itself on the water.
What Dogen is pointing out here is the reality of all beings as indepen-dent- origination. Everything is connected with everything. Everything exists only within the relationship it has with all other things and by support from them. That is what Dogen Zenji is pointing out when he says that the moon reflects itself on each and every drop of water.

But still, he says, the moon has infinite height and water has infinite depth and we need to investigate how high it is and how deep our life can be. This process of inquiry is the process of our practice.
Genjo Koan commentary by Rev. Shohaku Okumara. What a treasure!

Light. When it’s light, all is illuminated, what comes into our eyes is differentiated. Individual things, each with a very specific function which can’t be swapped or exchanged.  Anything/anybody, all things, are perceived as different. Everything IS different, unique, clearly defined with ‘edges’.

The fingers on one hand, the little finger has a particular function and cannot be swapped, with the thumb for example. However much that little finger would like to be a thumb it can’t be. That is NOT its place/position. Wanting, desiring, longing gets that little finger nowhere at all, so too with our own longings for things, ourselves to be other than we are. ‘Little finger, know and accept your uniqueness, which is subject to change of course. Be at peace. Know that your place (Dharma Position) contributes to the functioning of the whole.’ The hand contributes to the functioning of; both hands, to arms, back, legs and feet, to the land, to the ‘the Great Earth’ (everything) – the universe without edges.

Darkness? Then, in darkness existence is undifferentiated, empty of individual self-nature. When for example it’s physically dark the ‘sets’ (paving stones) in the yard at Throssel do not show up as individuals and yet they each still have their place, making up a mosaic of colour with very specific characteristics.  Each have their unique place functioning together to provide a flat surface to walk on within the Great Earth.

This seeming paradox, existence being dualistic in nature while at the same time non dualistic, is the challenge, the koan of living everyday life – Genjo Koan. How do we live and express this truth?

…the moon has infinite height and water has infinite depth and we need to investigate how high it is and how deep our life can be. This process of inquiry is the process of our practice.

Better leave it at that for tonight. Time to turn.

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6 thoughts on “Light goes With Darkness”

    1. Personally I do not relate to the word, or even concept of, inquiry John. Perhaps we are wired to be curious, to explore not something to ‘do’ so much as to engage with our encounter with conditions, internal and external. If we can say internal/external. Anyway John I am so glad you are around and still reading.

  1. Thank you Rev. Mugo. The seeming paradox brings a sense of wonder and delight at times and sometimes frustration. But all times just continuing helps with the acceptance of all that is changing.

    1. Dear Asha, you are here! How wonderful that you have left a comment.Thank you, yes to wonder and delight and frustration too. Although frustration can drop away in the face of light going with darkness, as with the steps in walking. Movement, onwards. Always good for leaving whatever behind.

  2. I appreciate the clarity of your description and examples of “light goes with darkness…..” With your permission I will borrow from them when trying to clarify this point with people who may sincerely ask. Thank you… with bows.

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