A Splendid Opportunity

Here is a terrific quote from Dogen Zenji on being in the present moment:

“This is a splendid opportunity for buddha-dharma to enter into mud and water. If you do not realize the fruit at this moment, when will you realize it? If you do not cut off delusion at this moment, when will you cut it of?If you do not become a buddha at this moment, when will you? If you do not sit as a buddha at this moment, when will you practice as a buddha? Diligently examine this in detail”

From Face-to-Face Transmission, Menju in Shobogenzo

The metaphor of entering the mud and water of life is a wonderful counterbalance to the misunderstanding that spiritual life transcends our ordinary life.  The mud and water is the ordinary moments of our life including our karmic, story-filled existence.  We cannot bloom our lotus unless its roots are in the mud of our life.  Transforming our problems begins with accepting our so-called problems and conflicts that exists in our historic self.  And each moment of our life is the mud in which our lotus blooms.

It’s a true sign of understanding when we really “get” Dogen Zenji’s quote.  An instruction as simple as Be in the present moment is very hard to manifest.  It has taken me 40 years to strip away all the complications that my mind brings to the moment, so that i can just receive the moment “as it is” and see both the ordinary and sacred in each moment.  One mindfulness practice I apply, is connecting each moment with the Whole.  As Kyoku has been saying,  this moment includes everything.  Our manifestation of enlightenment doesn’t exclude the things we don’t like, the moments of difficulty, the unresolvable karma of our life.  Enlightenment includes everything.  and in each moment we practice cutting through our delusions and manifesting the virtues of the Buddha. This is why Dogen-Zenji calls enlightenment by one word — practice-realization.