‘The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism, but to study ourselves. It is impossible to study ourselves without some teaching. If you want to know what water is you need science, and the scientist needs a laboratory. In the laboratory there are various ways in which to study what water is. Thus it is possible to know what kind of elements water has, the various forms it takes, and its nature. But it is impossible thereby to know water in itself. It is the same thing with us. We need some teaching, but just by studying the teaching along, it is impossible to know what “I” in myself am. Through the teaching we may understand our human nature. But the teaching is not we ourselves; it is some explanation of ourselves.’ (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)
If we think we know water, we still don’t know how a fish sees it, as Dogen always reminds us.