A Flower Opening in the World

by John Daido Loori Roshi

Featured in Mountain Record 27.2, Winter 2008

It is because the blue mountains are walking that they are constant. This walk is swifter than the wind. However, those in the mountains do not sense this, do not know it. To be "in the mountains" is the opening of flowers in the world. Those outside the mountains do not sense this, do not know this. Those without eyes to see the mountains do not sense, do not know, do not see, do not hear this truth.

They who doubt that the mountains walk do not yet understand their own walking. It is not that they do not walk, it's just that they do not yet understand, have not yet clarified, walking itself. If we are to understand our own walking we must also understand the walking of the blue mountains. The blue mountains are neither sentient nor insentient; the self is neither sentient nor insentient. Therefore, there should be no doubts about these blue mountains walking.

The mountains' walking is an expression of activity in the world. It is because of the mountains' walking—because of their activity—that they are endless. They form a continuum that encompasses past, present and future. Dogen says, "It is because the blue mountains are walking that they are constant." We could also say that constant walking is the mountains' practice.


Photo by Hollie Jeans


Old master Baoche of Mount Mayu was fanning himself. Seeing him, a monastic asked, "Master, the nature of wind is constant and there is no place it does not reach. Why must you still fan yourself?"

Mayu replied, "Although you understand that the nature of the wind is constant, you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere."

The monastic persisted, "What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?" Mayu just fanned himself. The monastic bowed with deep respect.