The moon manifests in clear water, as wisdom’s light manifests in zazen; as all empty flowers* glow with Buddha’s light



suigetsu dōjyō ni zashi kūge mangyō o shyūsu

*empty flowers is a metaphor for delusions of the mind


By Itteki Dōjin (Harada Rōshi)


Buddha-mind is pure mind free from hindrance. Think of flowing water never becoming stagnant despite obstacles that appear in the stream. Like this flowing water, the Buddha’s wisdom is the free flowing life-force of things, never stagnating, and always ready to flow unhindered once we remove obstacles from our mind.


When Manjusri visited Vimalakirti to inquire about his illness, Vimalakirti was glad to receive Manjusri and addressed him thus: "Welcome, Manjusri! You are very welcome! There you are, without coming. You appear before me, without seeing." When Vimalakirti exclaims ‘without coming’ and ‘without seeing’ he is referring to the experience as it is for an enlightened mind. Coming, without coming and seeing without seeing is the mind of enlightenment. There is speech, without speaking. Speech is heard, without hearing. Things appear in a mirror, and when they leave, no trace of the object remains. The intent of Vimalakirti’s greeting to Manjusri is to acknowledge “Manjusri, here you are with such supreme enlightenment!” Manjusri replied, "Vimalakirti, it is as you say. They who come, finally come not. They who go, finally go not.They come with no thought of coming. They go with no thought of leaving.” Come, without thought of coming. Go, without thought of leaving. This is the mind of Buddha.


We take on various persona each day. These persona all have their origin in our mind. When we converse with another person, we always contrive our words in our minds before we speak and therefore our words are fiction. But with an empty mind, with our minds totally free of motives we freely laugh at things funny, and freely cry at things sad. The mind that laughs and weeps from no mind is the mind of Buddha. A mind that reacts from no preconceived ideas from one moment to the next is the pristine mind - a mind we all ought to bring to the fore.  Each day new flowers blossom and so flowers are beautiful. A river is renewed every second with its flowing waters and so never stagnates. No matter if daily encounters bring us tears, anger or laughter, if our mind is new in each second we will live each day with the mind of Buddha.


This is expressed in the Avatamsaka Sutra thus: “The Buddha’s wisdom shines like a pure, refreshing moon forever coursing through ultimate void. When the mind flows pure, Buddha’s wisdom manifests within it like moonlight illuminating a flowing river.” Lay people may not become Buddha, but the moon will always reflect in clear water no matter if it’s a pond, river, sea, puddle, or even a dew drop on a leaf or blade of grass. When our mind sinks into the calm of zazen it becomes clear. We accept things as they are, with humility and grace. No matter what wrongs a person has committed, how vulgar, or the social standing of a person, if their mind is clear, if their mind is in dhyāna meditation, the mind of the Buddha will manifest in their mind.


A life lived without

Knowing this pure mind of void

Now forever known!

So clear this deathly warm night:

Eve of my execution.

— Shima Akito


“What an exceedingly foolish life I have led, a life that ends tomorrow morning with the ultimate apology. Though my wretched soul ought to be choking with pity, the warmth I feel in the night air is but sheer delight. Petrified of death, the great mind of void has sustained me. It has sustained me to admit my foolishness, and through this I finally realised the warmth in people, and the preciousness of life.  There is joy in allowing yourself to receive the kindness of others. This is something I only discovered after casting off my façade and revealing my naked self. The times I experienced the warmth of people were true treasures of this life.” - from ‘Iai-shyu’ by Shima Akito


“The moon manifests in clear water, as wisdom’s light manifests in zazen.” This makes no distinction between things. Just as moonlight reflects on all water surfaces, whether people good or bad, men or women, elderly or young, the wise or vulgar, humans, animals, rocks or trees, in all that exists in this world there is nothing in which the mind of Buddha does not flow. Could there be a more appropriate ground for the Way of the Buddha to take root and work its truth than this world of discrimination and conflict?


“All empty flowers glow with Buddha’s light.” This phrase states that the light of truth floods our mind when we free it of delusion (empty flowers). More particularly, Buddha’s light floods our minds when we are free from the four ejects of the ego: 1. Gasō 我相 the illusion that in the five skandhas there is a real ego; 2. Ninsō 人相 that this ego is a person, and different from beings of the other paths; 3. Jyujyōsō 衆生相 that all beings have an ego born of the five skandhas; 4. Jyushasō 壽者相 that the ego has age, i.e. a determined or fated period of existence.


Going about the necessities of everyday life free from any attachment to your actions, or without weighing up how much you have completed in a day; this is Pure Action.


The Goddess of Mercy roams our Saha World, delighting in its sounds.



* Pure Action = Action free from any trace of Saṅkhāra - the fourth of the five skandhas related to mental formations.

** The Saha World = the world of endurance. It refers to this world of ours, filled with suffering and afflictions, yet gladly endured by its inhabitants.


The four ejects of the ego in the Diamond Sutra: (1) 我相 the illusion that in the five skandhas there is a real ego; (2) 人相 that this ego is a man, and different from beings of the other paths; (3) 眾生相 that all beings have an ego born of the five skandhas; (4) 壽相 that the ego has age, i.e. a determined or fated period of existence.