Sweeping Zen Audio now has a couple more talks, “Expressing a Dream in a Dream,” from the sesshin at Deep Spring Temple in Pittsburgh last month. Click here.
And below is the excerpt from Dogen’s “Expressing a Dream in a Dream” (Tanahashi translation) that I was working with:
The path of all buddhas and ancestors arises before the first forms emerge; it cannot be spoken of using conventional views. This being so, in the realm of buddha ancestors there is the active power of buddhas going beyond buddhas. Since this realm is not a matter of the passage of time, their lives are neither long nor short, neither quick nor slow. This cannot be judged in an ordinary manner. Thus, the dharma wheel has been set to turn since before the first sign of forms emerged. The great merit needs no reward, and becomes the guidepost for all ages. Within a dream this is the dream you express. Because awakening is seen within awakening, the dream is expressed within a dream.
The place where the dream is expressed within a dream is the land and the assembly of buddha ancestors. The buddhas’ lands and their assemblies, the ancestors’ way and their seats, are awakening throughout awakening, and express the dream within a dream. When you meet such speech and expressions, do not regard them as other than the buddhas’ assembly; it is buddha turning the dharma wheel. This dharma wheel encompasses all the ten directions and the eight facets of a clear crystal, and so the great oceans, Mount Sumeru, the lands, and all buddhas are actualized. This is the dream expressed within a dream, prior to all dreams.
Every dewdrop manifested in every realm is a dream. This dream is the glowing clarity of the hundred grasses. What requires questioning is this very point. What is confusing is this very point. At this time, there are dream grasses, grasses within, expressive grasses, and so on. When we study this, then roots, stems, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits, as well as radiance and color, are all the great dream. Do not mistake them as merely dreamy.
However, those who do not wish to study buddha dharma believe that expressing the dream within a dream means speaking of unreal dream grass as real, like piling delusion upon delusion. But this is not true. When you say, “Within confusion is just confusion,” still you should follow the path in the vast sky known as “delusion throughout delusion.” You should endeavor to investigate just this thoroughly.
The expressing of the dream within a dream is all buddhas. All buddhas are wind and rain, water and fire. We respectfully maintain these names of buddhas, and also pay homage to those names of other buddhas. To express the dream within a dream is the ancient buddhas; it is to ride in this treasure boat and directly arrive in the practice place. Directly arriving in the practice place is riding in this treasure boat. Meandering dreams and direct dreams, holding and letting go, all freely flow like gusting breezes.
The dharma wheel is just like this; turning the great dharma-wheel-world is immeasurable and boundless. It turns even within a single particle, ebbing and flowing ceaselessly within the particle. Accordingly, whenever such a dharma is turned, even an antagonist nods and smiles. Wherever such a dharma is turned, it freely circulates like the flowing breezes.