Sunday, April 24, 2005
3. This one came from Sogen Roshi, who was kind enough to write this shodou for me: East, South, North, West; what does not change?
Everything is impermanent and without independent existence (emptiness). Even East, South, North and West are relative and not always existant. It is asked "Why did Bodhidharma come from the West?" but to Americans, India is the East. If you are standing on the North Pole, whichever direction you turn to will be south - east and west, as well as north, have no meaning at the north pole.
Buddhist writings discuss the ten directions as meaning all-pervading space. The ten directions are East, South, North, West and the four points in between, as well as up and down. The Buddha, said, "When one person opens up reality and returns to the source, all space in the ten directions disappears." Master Dogen tells a story about the Chinese master Xuansha Shibei who said, "The whole universe in ten directions is one bright pearl."
The Chinese Master Changsha said, "The whole universe in ten directions is the eye of a monk." Dogen later added, "The whole universe in ten directions is a monk’s everyday speech. The whole universe in the ten directions is a monk’s whole body. The whole universe in ten directions is the brightness of the self. The whole universe in ten directions exists inside the brightness of the self. In the whole universe in ten directions, there is no one who is not himself."
So the universe in ten directions is nothing other than the self, and the self is empty of any independent existance, so everything changes, East, South, North and West.