“Mountains and waters right now are the actualization of the ancient Buddha way. Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness. Because mountains and waters have been active since before the Empty Eon, they are alive at this moment. Because they have been the self since before form arose they are emancipation realization.
Because mountains are high and broad, the way of riding the clouds is always reached in the mountains; the inconceivable power of soaring in the wind comes freely from the mountains.
Priest Daokai of Mt. Furong said to the assembly, “The green mountains are always walking; a stone woman gives birth to a child at night.” Mountains do not lack the qualities of mountains. Therefore they always abide in ease and always walk. You should examine in detail this quality of the mountains walking. Mountains’ walking is just like human walking. Accordingly, do not doubt mountains’ walking even though it does not look the same as human walking. The Buddha ancestors’ words point to walking. This is fundamental understanding. You should penetrate these words.
Because green mountains walk, they are permanent. Although they walk more swiftly than the wind, someone in the mountains does not realize or understand it. “In the mountains” means the blossoming of the entire world. People outside the mountains do not realize or understand the mountains walking. Those without eyes to see mountains cannot realize, understand, see, or hear this as it is. If you doubt mountains’ walking, you do not know your own walking; it is not that you do not walk, but that you do not know or understand your own walking. Since you do not know your walking, you should fully know the green mountains’ walking. Green mountains are neither sentient nor insentient. You are neither sentient nor insentient. At this moment, you cannot doubt the green mountains’ walking.
Water is neither strong nor weak, neither wet nor dry, neither moving nor still, neither cold nor hot, neither existent nor non-existent, neither deluded nor enlightened. When water solidifies, it is harder than a diamond. Who can crack it? When water melts, it is gentler than milk. Who can destroy it? Do not doubt that these are the characteristics water manifests. You should reflect on the moment when you see the water of the ten directions as the water of the ten directions. This is not just studying the moment when human and heavenly beings see water; this is studying the moment when water sees water. This is a complete understanding. You should go forward and backward and leap beyond the vital path where other fathoms other.”
Excerpts from Eihei Dogen’s Mountains and Waters Sutra
I have just returned from the mountains and waters of Europe. A remarkable transformation took place. The mountains and waters became October’s leaves, ducks in Hyde Park, the Tagus river, a reptilian mosaic of cobbles. These wondrous mountains of cobbles, streets of Cologne, Lisbon and London are our true home. In the moment of our return to them, they return to us. Without the delusive cognition that hypnotizes us we find our way to the mountains and waters of our true being.
LIke a tiger returning to the mountain
Like a Dragon returning to the sky
We meet no one along the way.
I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la sainte terre” — to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a sainte-terrer“, a saunterer — a holy-lander. They who never go to the holy land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds, but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all, but the Saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which indeed is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit (1) in us, to go forth and reconquer this holy land from the hands of the Infidels.
From “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau
I hope you study and appreciate this sustenance Thoreau is giving us. His “grandmotherly” kindness.
A book of Thoreau’s essays is the last thing I gave my father before he died – before he went sauntering into eternity. Aren’t we all sauntering, just passing through. The problem is we don’t know that. We are so busy going somewhere when in fact all our happiness is here. Even our practice can become step ladder Zen.
When we remember we are sauntering we become the holy crusade Thoreau speaks of. We can attack the Infidels of being victims, anger and ‘got to get there” and reach the holy land that we call “The Way.”