July 17th, 2013

From Diago "Great Enlightenment" By Dogen. 1243 A.D.

"....All the Buddhas have learned through Great Enlightenment to actualize the true meaning of enlightenment in everyday life. Nevertheless, Buddhas are detached from the idea of Great Enlightenment, and Great Enlightenment itself is not conscious of who is, or is not, a Buddha.

"However, human beings have many different ways of realizing enlightenment. Some realize the meaning of life from birth and are detached in every stage of their life—beginning, middle, and end. Others achieve detachment by mastering the true meaning of study—that is, "self-study," the study of one's own skin, flesh, bones, and marrow. Some others learn as a Buddha; they do not possess understanding from birth or from self-study but gain it by transcending the world of opposites. Still others gain self-knowledge without resorting to masters, sutras or other means; their true nature manifests itself. Different types of people have different means of realization, and everyone possesses the ability to understand true function and meaning of their own nature.

"If everyone possesses the innate ability to have true knowledge of themselves then we can say that they are already enlightened, have received the seal of enlightenment, and practice the Buddhist Way. Therefore, when Buddhas and Patriarchs are enlightened they are simply returning to their original home: the original Buddha-nature.

"......' Do not think, as most people do, that if one has Great Enlightenment and becomes a Buddha, you are different from ordinary people, or that Great Enlightenment causes Bodhisattvas to return to the world and try to save others. In our present study we are not concerned with the difference between enlightenment or illusion, or Buddhas and ordinary people. Here, Great Enlightenment is even different from the Great Awakening of a Bodhisattva.

" ..... The Great Enlightenment of Buddhas is for sentient beings, and the Great Enlightenment of sentient beings illuminates the Great Enlightenment of the Buddhas. There is no distinction between them. Great Enlightenment is not just the function of ourselves or others. It fills everywhere and is the center of existence in both the form of enlightenment and illusion. Illusion can only seek Great Enlightenment and we can never find Great Enlightenment outside of illusion.

"....  Understanding must be attained through the body and mind and not based on others' interpretation. We must reflect upon the fact that all things are contained in our original self. We must search for this principle with a clear mind.".