This One Great Matter

So-called great mind is, in its spirit, like a great mountain or a great sea: it has no partiality and no factionalism. Lifting an ounce, it does not consider it light; hefting a stone, it does not consider it heavy. Being drawn by the voices of spring, it does not wander into the swamp of spring. Although it sees the colors of autumn, it has nothing whatsoever of the spirit of autumn. It contrasts the four seasons against the backdrop of a single vista. It views pennyweights and ounces [of silver] within the context of a single system of measurement. As an emblem of this sameness, we can write the character "great." You should know the character "great." You should study the character "great." If the cook Jiashan had not studied the character "great," he would not have spontaneously laughed his single laugh and would not have saved Taiyuan. If Ch'an Master Guishan had not written the character "great," he could not have taken a stick of firewood and blown on it three times. If Dongshan had not known the character "great," he would not have been able to instruct the monk by raising "three pounds of hemp." You should know that the great teachers of old were alike in their study of the character "great" in connection with the diverse phenomena of this world. Now, too, there are those who freely make a great sound, expound the great meaning, complete the great matter, connect with great people, and accomplish karmic conditions of this one great matter.

-Master Dogen

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