Master Baso Do-itsu of the Kosei district preached to Master Yakusan Igen saying: Sometimes I make him move his eyebrows and wink his eyes. Sometimes I do not make him move his eyebrows and wink his eyes. Sometimes it is good for me to make him move his eyebrows and wink his eyes. Sometimes it is not good for me to make him move his eyebrows and wink his eyes.
Suddenly Master Yakusan attained the great truth.
Commentary by Nishijima
Master Baso Do-itsu described real situations in his Buddhist life, referring to his physical self in the third person. Sometimes he behaved actively. Sometimes he behaved himself passively. Sometimes it was good for him to behave actively. Sometimes it was bad for him to behave actively. Buddhist life is like this. Buddhist life is always at the moment of the present.
Sometimes Buddhist behavior is active, sometimes Buddhist behavior is passive. Sometimes active behavior is good. Sometimes active behavior is not good. Master Baso’s teachings were very concrete. Hearing those teachings Master Yakusan saw clearly what reality is.
Commentary by John Fraser
Master Baso was one of the greatest Masters, and in this story he gives a very realistic description of himself. The story occurs in Uji [BeingTime] where Dogen tells us that each moment is all moments, each thing is all things. And this being so, there is room for our stupidity as well as our brilliance, our falsenesses as well as our truth. We don’t need to sever everything, to watch it drop down to the depths, so we can rise upwards.
We don’t need to remain in light, because everything is illuminated