That which is manifesting
right before one’s eyes (genjo)
is the absolute reality. (koan)
Genjo Koan is the first chapter of Great Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo. Scholars regard the Genjo Koan as foundational to Dogen’s religious understanding, with the rest of the Shobogenzo being a development of the teaching embedded in Genjo Koan.
Here are the opening four lines of Genjo Koan. But first a reminder from me.
Be very still.
And watch your mind as you read.
And then let it go!
I’ll say no more.
When all things are just what they are [apart from discrimination], illusion and enlightenment exist, religious practice exists, birth exists, death exists, Buddhas exist, and ordinary beings exist. When the myriad things are without self, there is no delusion, no enlightenment, no Buddhas, no ordinary beings, no birth, no extinction. Since the Buddha Way from the beginning transcends fullness and deficiency, there is birth and extinction, delusion and enlightenment, beings and Buddhas. However, though this is the way it is, it is only this: flowers scatter in our longings, and weeds spring up in our loathing.
Francis H. Cook, Sounds of Valley Steams
I am no Dogen scholar. A book fell into my hands this morning and opened at Genjo Koan. I read it, I read it again. And then came back to it again this evening. All I can say is, This is profound. And simple.
Better get to bed now. Please don’t lose sleep over this!