Because enlightenment is rooted in dim-sightedness, all things that constitute enlightenment are invariably the ones adorned with dim-sightedness. All things that constitute delusion are invariably the ones adorned with dim-sightedness as well. . . [Some unenlightened scholars] only think that the flowers seen in the sky (kuge) are due to faulty eyesight (gen'ei). . . But they do not understand that dim-sightedness (gen'ei) is what it is by virtue of the flowers of emptiness. . . All the buddhas let their visions (gen) realize through dimsightedness (ei). They realize the flowers of emptiness in their visions, and their visions in the flowers of emptiness.
Emptiness, along with delusion and enlightenment, is rooted in dim-sightedness. . . In this way, dim-sightedness is the life-force of emptiness and, doctrinally speaking, the linchpin of ultimate and worldly truth. As such, dim-sightedness is at once liberated and radicalized in his [Dōgen] soteric schema. . .
Painting a picture, the painter, and a painted picture all constituted a single reality; religion and art ultimately converged in the holistic view that mirrored the self and the world. From this Dōgen drew a striking conclusion—entirely different from the traditional interpretation—that the painted cake alone could satisfy hunger, or to put it differently, unless we ate the painted cake, we could never satisfy our hunger. . . Life and art, truth and the imagination are never bifurcated but constitute a total reality in which the spring is realized as a painted picture via the plum blossoms and the painter’s striving. The painted picture “allows the plum blossoms to exert the spring” and thereby the spring “enters the [plum] tree.
The painted cake of thusness is not a metonym. Since it is reality, it has the power "to bring us into line with our experience of totality". This power erases any demarcation between reality and illusion; has multiple meanings (is multidimensional); interfuses the symbol and the symbolized so that "likeness" is "thusness"; expresses emptiness since it is the power of realization; expresses transformative concepts in the soteriological milieu to avoid dualistic notions of bifurcation; triggers religio-philosophical imagination; interprets the transcendental/static in terms of the realizational/dynamic; expresses analogy as identity; expresses discontinuous continuity (is multidirectional).
Dōgen: On Meditation And Thinking
On a sheer holdless precipice, with an indescribable sensation one no longer knows which is up and which is down. 'Horizontally', there is only perfect, purposeful 'floating'—presence in absence (or vice versa), the life of a ghost: one's existence no longer bites or gears anywhere, the will has experienced that it depends upon illusion: turned to ashes, it cannot build itself up again. This 'floating' is the unmeasurable 'sensation', horizontally, of the Unconditional Vertical.
—Lewis L. Thompson
Mirror to the Light
Spring/Peony Flower, DreamMaking, 2010, acrylic on paper, 18" x 28"
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