‘A person’s body and mind change according to situations 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 it 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 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 be originally 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 impurity, 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.

If the statement by those who are ignorant were true, even if you grind the five organs and six sub-organs into powder, make them into emptiness, and wash them with the entire ocean, how could the body and mind be pure if you don’t wash inside the particles? How could you attain purity without washing inside the emptiness? But those who are ignorant don’t know the way to cleanse emptiness.

You take up emptiness and wash emptiness, take up emptiness and wash body and mind. If you accept washing with trust in this way, you maintain the practice and realization of buddha ancestors.

When you wash in the true dharma authentically transmitted by buddhas and ancestors, the inside and outside of body and mind, as well as the inside, the outside, and the in-between of the five organs, six sub-organs, body, mind, environs, the world of phenomena, and empty space are immediately cleansed. When you cleanse with incense and flowers, the past, present, future, causes and conditions, actions and effects are immediately purified.’  (Shobogenzo – Washing The Face Fascicle)

Of course Dogen can’t write about washing the face without going deep into it. I had chosen this section to bridge between looking at some of the monastic guidelines in the second class, and moving to the more expansive all-inclusive material of the third class. We didn’t have time to look at it this time, but hopefully people have a chance to look at it before next Saturday.

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