94. Genjokoan

In the Genjokoan, Master Dogen gives a famous definition of delusion and enlightenment, saying that delusion is carrying the self forward to experience the myriad things, whereas in enlightenment the myriad things come forward and experience themselves.

I would say that we carry the Self forward primarily through language: “That is a wall”, “That is my confusion”, “There is that familiar unpleasant feeling, bitter in taste”.

And once we use the scalpel of words on part of experience, that detached part can be the object of our love or [more usually] of our hate. And, hard as we try, we can’t kill it again.

Buddhism is, for at least a moment, the restraint of this tendency. It’s not that we become intimate with our experience, because that’s dualistic, but that experience, somehow, is restored to life unfabricated.