Picasso Girl
"the stone maiden dances and the mountains flow"
COMMENTARY on Dogen Zenji's SANSUI-KYO 山水經
The Spiritual Discourses of the Mountains and the Water
by Abbess Houn Jiyu-Kennett, Roshi, Shasta Abbey
Roar of the Tigress, Vol. II: Zen for Spiritual Adults
__ __ __
 [In the Sansui-Kyo Dogen Zenji says:]
 Although the moving on of the verdant mountains are more swift than the wind, those who live amidst the mountains do not perceive this or recognize it.'Being amidst the mountains' refers to things blossoming forth in the everyday world. Those who live apart from the mountains neither perceive nor recognize them. (*)
__ __ __
 [Abbess Houn Jiyu-Kennett comments]
 Because your training may seem slow, do not doubt that training is actually taking place, for in reality it is "more swift than the wind." "Moving on" means that there is unending training, which is how the training of Buddhas is, and how ours must be. Whilte this training moves on more "swiftly than the wind," those who have no familiarity with it have no cognizance of this. Their ignorance of this movement is a very different thing from the fact that those who are< the mountain are in the same situation as the plum blossom that does not know that it is red and yet still leads the way onward to the Truth. For when one flower blooms, spring exists everywhere. [...]
__ __ __
 However slowly a person may seem to train, there is training going on, for the Unborn is the Unborn and Buddha Nature is at work in every one of us. If we look at our fellow trainees as mountains, knowing how solid and unchanging a mountain may appear to us and yet in motion, then we can cease to criticize them, we can cease to criticize the speed of their training or our own. A mountain, as we picture it, is very solid, very still, and yet it is constantly moving. Spring, summer, autumn, winter: through the brightness of the green of spring, to the red of autumn. to the white of winter, it remains solid, yet moves and flows. Its whole essence moves and flows. It is doing its training perfectly, as itself. So are we. No one has the right to judge or criticize the training of another. [...]
__ __ __
 Master Dogen next speaks of a time "when a mountain gives rise to the Child of the Mountain." When the stone of the stone woman is broken and she gives forth the Child of the Lord, then the Buddhas and Ancestors appear before our eyes. They emerge into this world, they come forth from mountains and stones, and stones cry out in joy — for all "stones" of the self must give birth to the Child of the Lord. All stones seem still and cold. When first a person, sets his or her mind to training, "the mind is hard and set and cannot be broken," as it says in the Ordination Ceremony, for we are as the stone man or woman. But when endless training has softened the self and turned it from cold stone, to fire and thence to water, to the cool Water of the Spirit — then we give birth to the Child of the Lord and can understand how it is that the stone maiden dances (**) and the mountains flow.
__ __ __
 (*) Dogen citation from Shobogenzo, Shasta Abbey, trans. by Hubert Nearman
(**) a traditional Zen Koan says:  
 The stone woman dances to the music of long life,
The wooden man chants a song of peace.
 and from ZEN CLASSICS, by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright:
 "In Chinese a 'wooden man' is a puppet, 'a stone woman' is a barren woman incapable of bearing children, but in Zen, these negative connotations are made to connote something positive. One could say in plodding prose that in the no-self of Zen the ups and downs of daily life are effortlessly accomplished. But to avoid such clumsiness, one says:
 "Putting on his shoes, the wooden man went away at midnight.
Wearing her bonnet, the stone woman returned at dawn. (ZS 14.26)"

__ __ __
(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
(Gender Inclusive) STUDIES OF THE WAY (學道) | (INDEX)
95-Fascicle SHOBOGENZO (正法眼蔵) & Other Writings
photos: earlywomenmasters.net