‘A person’s body and mind change according to situation and time. A billion worlds can be sat through within a single sitting. Even so, at that very moment the body and mind cannot be measured by self or other. It is the power of buddha dharma. The scale of the body and mind is not five or six feet, because the five or six feet is not unchangeable.
Where the body is neither bounded nor boundless, it is not limited to this world or that world, to the entire world or the immeasurable entire world. As in an old saying, “What is here? Describe it roughly or in detail.”
The scale of mind cannot be known by thinking and discernment, either. It cannot be known by beyond thinking and beyond discernment. The scale of the body and mind is like this; so is the scale of cleansing. To take up this scale of cleansing, practicing and realizing it, is what buddhas and ancestors have cared for.
Do not make your scheming self a priority. Do not make your calculating self real. By washing and cleansing, you thoroughly take up the scale of body and mind and purify them. Even the four great elements and five skandhas, and what is indestructible [in the body and mind], can be purified by cleansing.
Do not merely think that rinsing with water makes things clean. How can water originally be pure or impure? Even if water is originally pure or impure, we do not say that water makes the places it reaches pure or impure. Only when you maintain the practice and realization of buddha ancestors, the buddha dharma of washing with water and cleansing with water, is water transmitted. By practicing and realizing in this way, you leap over purity, penetrate purity, and drop away beyond purity and beyond impurity. In this way, the teaching of washing what is not yet defiled and washing what is greatly pure is maintained in the way of buddha ancestors alone. It is not known by those outside the way.’ (Shobogenzo Semmen)
Only Dogen could take what is ostensibly a practice instruction on washing the face and turn it into poetry like this. More tomorrow.