carriage mirror
Citations from Dogen Zenji's DAIGO 大悟
Great Enlightenment (Selections & Commentary)
Dogen on Meditation and Thinking (Ch.1), tr. by Hee-Jin Kim
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CONSIDER the koan Dogen cites in his expositon on great enlightenment (daigo):
 A monastic once asked Great Teacher Pao-chih of the Hua-yen monastery in Ching-chao (a successor to Tung-shan; also known as Hsiu-ching): "What is it like when a greatly enlightened person is nevertheless deluded?" The teacher replied: "A shattered mirror never reflects again; a fallen flower never returns to the tree."
 Hee-Jin Kim says:
 [...] Traditionally, commentators by and large have taken Hua-yen's original koan as representing the non-attached, self-emptying, traceless state of realization on the part of an enlightened one, who is thoroughly immersed in delusion, and yet completely free of it. This conventional interpretation does not sufficiently address issues involved in the dynamic interplay of delusion and enlightenment, in their duality and nonduality. Why are delusion and enlightenment qualified as "great"? What is the meaning of being "nevertheless deluded" (kyakumei)? Why is it that a shattered mirror "never reflects again" and a fallen flower "never returns to the tree"? As I shall attempt to highlight in a moment, Dogen's analysis of the koan deeply penetrates the soteric dynamics of not only the nonduality, but also the duality of delusion and enlightenment.
 Dogen continues to comment:
 [...] Is a greatly enlightened person who is nevertheless deluded the same as an unenlightened person? When being nevertheless deluded, does a greatly enlightened person create delusion by exerting that enlightenment? Or by way of bringing delusion from somewhere else, does the person assume it as if still deluded while concealing his/her own enlightenment? When an enlightened person remains the same in not transgressing his/her great enlightenment, does he/she, in any case, partake in being nevertheless deluded? Regarding "a greatly enlightened person is nevertheless deluded," you should also investigate whether the "nevertheless deluded" means fetching another "piece" of great enlightenment. And is the "great enlightenment" one hand and the "nevertheless deluded" the other? In any event, you should know that to understand "a greatly enlightened person is never deluded" is the quintessence of practice. Note that great enlightenment is ever intimate with the "nevertheless deluded."
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Hee-Jin Kim says:
 [...] Delusion and enlightenment differ from one another perspectivally, are never metaphysical opposites [...], and are both temporal, coextensive, and coeternal as ongoing salvific processes. In this respect I would call them foci rather than "antitheses" or "polarities." They are orientational perspectival foci within the structure and dynamics of realization (genjo). As such, they are boundaries, though provisional, always remain and are never erased. Yet they are "permeable," so to speak, instead of "incommensurable." In light of such an intimate, dynamic relationship, enlightenment consists not so much in replacing as in dealing with or "negotiating" delusion in the manner consistent with its principles. By the same token, delusion is not ordinary by any means; it is constantly illumined and clarified by enlightenment in the ongoing salvific process, ad infinitum.
 [...] With this is mind, perhaps we can better understand Dogen's following statement [in the Genjo Koan]: "When the dharma does not yet completely fill your body-mind, you think that it is already sufficient. When the dharma fills your body-mind, you think that something is missing." Paradoxically, the more deeply one grows in enlightenment, the more clearly one discerns one's own frailties and limitations.
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
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