Mountains are Mountains
Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi
Teachings of Mountains and Rivers, Part V
Featured in Mountain Record 25.1, Fall 2006
Not distinguishing east from west, nor north from south, day after day, morning to evening, evening to morning, so it remains. Is this being fast asleep? At times, the eyes are like comets, the mind is like lightning. Can it be said that this is wide awake? At times facing south and calling it north, is this mindful or mindless? Is this a person of the Way or a person of delusion? All traces of enlightenment having fallen away, one puts on clothing and takes a meal. Where spiritual powers wander at play among the ten thousand things, there is no way to frame it or to name it. Is this a sage or an ordinary being?
The Main Case
Master Dogen taught, “As for mountains, there are mountains hidden in treasures; there are mountains hidden in marshes, mountains hidden in the sky; there are mountains hidden in mountains. There is a study of mountains hidden in hiddenness. An old master said, ‘Mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers.’ The meaning of these words is not that mountains are mountains, but that mountains are mountains. Therefore we should thoroughly study these mountains. When we thoroughly study the mountains, this is the mountain training. Such mountains and rivers themselves spontaneously become wise ones and sages.”
The Capping Verse
When an ordinary person realizes it,
she is a sage.
When a sage realizes it,
he is an ordinary person.
In the prologue we have a description of a person who has integrated all of the five ranks in his or her own existence:
All traces of enlightenment having fallen away, one puts on clothing and takes a meal. Where spiritual powers wander at play among the ten thousand things, there is no way to frame it or to name it. Is this a sage ora an ordinary being?