Dogen

‘An ancient buddha said:
Attaining the way – a thousand snowflakes disappear.
Painting green mountains – several scrolls appear.
This is an utterance of great enlightenment, actualized practice in the endeavor of the way. Accordingly, at the moment of attaining the way, green mountains and white snow are painted on countless scrolls. Motion and stillness are nothing but a painting. Our endeavor at this moment is brought forth entirely from a painting.
The ten names and the three miraculous powers are a painting on a scroll. The roots, capacities, awakenings and noble path are also a painting on a scroll. If you say that the painting is not real, then the myriad things are not real. If the myriad things are not real, then buddha dharma is not real. As buddha dharma is real, a painted rice cake is real.’ (Shobogenzo Gabyo, A Painting of a Rice Cake)

‘I’d seen her looking at a small drawing of partridges in a book I had left open on the floor. Intrigued, I picked up the book and held it in front of her. She kept her eyes fixed on the picture, even when I moved the book about in the air. No Way! I thought. The drawing was in ink; it was stylised and sparse; it caught the feel and form of partridges, but there was no colour or detail to it. I flipped through the book, showed her other drawings: finches, sea-birds, thrushes. She ignored them all. Then I showed her a drawing of a pheasant. Her black pupils dilated; she leaned forward and stared down her beak at it, as fascinated as she had been with the partridges. I was amazed. Amazed that she could understand two-dimensional images, and even more amazed that something deep in her brain saw these sparse inked curves as fitting the category gamebirds and had pronounced them worthy of interest.’ (H is for Hawk)

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