The Dragon drinking down heaven and earth

Translation of the shikishi calligraphy "RYU"

Reiwa 6, 2024 is the year of the dragon. The Dragon is a year of brave leaps forward, but one wrong step could cause a major disaster.

Everything in this world is seen in a dualistic way. Good and evil, enemy and friend, victory and defeat, society and myself, living and dying, gaining and losing, Buddha and ordinary people, happiness and unhappiness, parents and children, husband and wife, likes and dislikes.

Generally speaking, this world is made up of a combination of subjectivity and objectivity.

This world is thought to be discriminatory, but the trees and stones in the garden speak neither of loss nor of gain. They exist individually. In fact, it is our subjectivity that creates discrimination. This subjectivity is the cause of peace, war, and violence in society.

One day, Unmon Zen Master Unmon, the founder of the Unmon sect, held out his staff and said to a practitioners:

``This staff became a dragon and swallowed the entire universe in one go. Mountains, rivers, the moon, the sun, and the earth were all gone.”

If that happened, everyone would have no place to put their feet, so they were told what to do. This is by no means a hoax or a joke. It is the truth of ``Buddha nature'' revealed through Zen experience.

We are all born with this kind of functioning. Every baby is born without fear and full of energy giving a birth cry. This is “Buddha nature.”

As zazen deepens and your mind becomes quiet, you reach the serenity of Nirvana and the conflict between subjectivity and objectivity disappears, and you can experience the feeling of each and everything touching your eyes and resonating in your ears is the Buddha.

Dogen Zenji sings, ``The willow is dyed, the appearance of Kannon is beautiful, the pine tree is blowing – this is the voice of the sermon and the rebirth.''