In entering, do you arrive or are you leaving. In departing do you leave or are you arriving. Can the gate answer or does it choose to remain silent. The mountain shouts the answer but only the river can hear it.
A reflection on case 30 of the Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)
When you look in the mirror are you real, is your reflection real? Be careful what you say, for if I look into that mirror and see you, is the you I see anything other than real? When you go through the gate you say “I am exiting”. When I follow you through the gate I say “I am entering”. Are we both liars?
A Reflection on case 58 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye)
If you ask who I am I will have you close your eyes and walk behind you, or I may step to your left and take your right hand. If you are perplexed, I will ask you, do the four gates open into the city or out to the world beyond, and if I stand still sideways under a gate in which direction am I headed?
A reflection on case 46 of Dogen’s True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo).
When you peer through the glass
are you looking out, or
are you looking in, and how
would you know which is true,
and does it matter.
When you walk through a gate
are you entering or leaving.
If you ask where the gate
is located, you cannot find
where you are going,
for all gates lead nowhere
except where you are,
and if you are not at the gate
you might as well
just look through a window
and ask yourself should you
look in or out of the window
to find the missing gate?
The young man asked the old Buddhist monk, “If there are 64,000 gates, how will I know through which I should enter.” The monk paused, considered the question, then smiled broadly. “Why would you want to enter any gate?” the monk said with a wink. The young man replied, “because they are the gates that lead to the dharma, and that will lead to enlightenment, so of course I want to enter the right one!” “That is your mistake,” the monk gently added, for there is no right gate, they are all right gates, but your problem is you want to go in through the gate, but you must go out from where you are, for that is how you enter the dharma.”
The search will be endless the answer at once obvious and incapable of being found. You seek direction to it, certain the right teacher holds the key to the critical gate, inside which all of the Dharma sits waiting for you. If the teacher asks you how many people live in a distant city you have never visited, how will you respond. The answer is the key and you already hold it in hand.