Mason posted:

Kyle, Robert: Our conversation reminded me of this beautiful quote from Zen Master Hakuin:

"Hence the Meditation Sutra's preaching is perfectly clear: 'The height of the buddha's body is ten quadrillion miles multiplied by the number of sand particles in sixty Ganges rivers.' Can someone tell me: Is this colossal body the Sambhogakaya? Is it the Nirmanakaya? Or is it the Dharmakaya? We saw before that the Sambhogakaya and Nirmanakaya appear to benefit sentient beings in response to their various capacities. Yet how large would a world have to be to accomodate such a buddha? Can you imagine the gigantic size of the sentient beings to whom he would appear? And don't say that because sentient beings in a Pure Land of such size would be correspondingly large, a buddha would have to manifest himself in a large form too. If that were true, wouldn't bodhisattvas, religious seekers, and everyone else who inhabited such a world have to be of similar size as well: 'ten quadrillion miles multiplied by the number of sand partciles in sixty Ganges rivers'?

A river the size of the Ganges measures forty leagues across; its sands are as fine as the smallest atoms. Not even a god or demon could count the sand in a single Ganges river, or in half a Ganges river - or even, for that matter, the sand in an area ten feet square. And we are talking about the sand in sixty Ganges! The all-seeing eyes of the Buddha himself could not count them. These in essence are numbers that cannot be reckoned, calculations beyond calculating. Yet they contain a profound truth which is among the most difficult to grasp of all those in the Buddha's sutras. It is the golden bone and the golden marrow of the Venerable Buddha of Boundless Life.

If I had to say anything about it at all, it would be that the sand in the those sixy Ganges rivers alludes to the colors and forms, the sounds, and the rest of the six dusts that appear as objects to the six sense organs. Not one of all the myriad dharmas exists apart from these six dusts. When you fully awaken to the fact that all the dharmas perceived in this way as the six dusts are, in and of themselves, the golden body of the Buddha of Boundless Life in its entirety, you transcend the realm of samsaric suffering right where you stand and become one with supreme perfect enlightenment.

At that moment, everywhere, both east and west alike, is the Land of the Lotus Paradise. The entire universe in all directions, not a pinpoint of earth excepted, is none other than the great primordial peace and tranquility of Vairochana Buddha's Dharma body. It pervades all individual entities, erasing all their differences, and this continues forever without change."

- "Authentic Zen" by Hakuin, from collection The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, trans. Norman Waddell


Dharma poem by Hakuin Ekaku [1685-1768],

Translated  by Robert Aitken Roshi.

All beings by nature are Buddha,
as ice by nature is water;
apart from water there is no ice,
apart from beings no Buddha.
How sad that people ignore the near
and search for truth afar,
like someone in the midst of water
crying out in thirst,
like a child of a wealthy home
wandering among the poor.
Lost on dark paths of ignorance
we wander through the six worlds,
from dark path to dark path we wander,
when shall we be freed from birth and death?
For this the zazen of the Mahayana
deserves the highest praise:
offerings, precepts, paramitas,
Nembutsu, atonement, training--
the many other virtues--
all rise within zazen.
Even those with proud attainments
wipe away immeasurable crimes--
where are all the dark paths then?
the Pure Land itself is not far.
Those who hear this truth even once
and listen with a grateful heart,
treasuring it, revering it,
gain blessings without end.
Much more, if you dedicate yourself
and confirm your own self-nature--
that self-nature is no nature--
you are far beyond mere argument.
The oneness of cause and effect is clear,
not two, not three, the path is put right;
with form that is no form
going and coming--never astray,
with thought that is no thought
singing and dancing are the voice of the Law.
Boundless and free is the sky of samadhi,
bright the full moon of wisdom,
truly is anything missing now?
Nirvana is here, before your eyes,
this very place is the Lotus Land,
this very body the Buddha.
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