I was looking for you, he said, and I was looking for myself she replied, and here we are and neither of us has succeeded in our quest, for I have not found myself, so you cannot find me. I shall stop looking for you, he said and perhaps you will appear. for I am ready if you choose to. I have found myself, finally, she replied, but how long have you been standing there and what were you doing since I last saw you?
If you want an answer do not ask a question – your answer cannot be mine nor can mine be yours. Instead, ask the stone wall, it has nothing to say and in its perfect silence all questions are asked and all answers are found.
A reflection on Case 41 of the Shobogenzo, Dogen’s True Dharma Eye
He was no longer sure quite where he found it, or whether it was talisman or just an amulet, but he didn’t believe the distinction really mattered at all. He carried it with him everywhere he went, was sure to put it ins his pocket each day. Many said it did nothing for him, brought him no better luck, no change in his circumstances, but he was quick to point out how much worse things might have been had he never found it.
It’s all a question of knowing where to look for one, but ask what would you do if you stumbled across it. It’s not a simple decision, nor should it be. The better question still is how you will know when you finally find it, for it is marked only deep within your heart.
When you look in the mirror do you hope to see yourself, and who is that face that stares back? If you turn out the light, are you still there in the mirror, or has the illusion of you disappeared? If you crack the mirror, do you feel the pain of the scar across your face? You cannot hope to see yourself, for if you did see you, you would then cease to be, and the mirror would stare and see nothing. You cannot search for the Buddha, for in looking you make finding impossible. All this looking and so very little being: so just be.