‘The way of water penetrates everywhere, above and below, vertically and horizontally. Still, in the sutras it is said that fire and wind go up, while earth and water go down. But this “up and down” bears some study – the study of the up and down of the way of the buddha. [In the way of the buddha,] where earth and water go is considered “down”; but “down” here does not mean some place to which earth and water go. Where fire and water go is “up.” While the Dharma realm has no necessary connection with up and down, or the four directions, simply on the basis on the function of the four, five, or six elements, we provisionally set up a Dharma realm with directions. It is not the the “heaven of nonconception” is above and the”Avici hell” is below. Avici is the entire Dharma realm; the heaven of nonconception is the entire Dharma realm.’ (Shobogenzo Sansuikyo)

Re-reading the Mountains and Waters Sutra as part of Shohaku Okumura’s new commentary on the fascicle, I could not help but include this as a re-wording of yesterday’s post. I was thinking that the key phrase here is ‘no necessary connection’, and since Shohaku is using Carl Bielefeldt’s translation, I went to the Kaz Tanahashi version the see how the line is rendered. Food for thought: ‘The world of phenomena is not limited by up, down or the cardinal directions.’

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