Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Black Dragon Jewel

Through one word, or seven words, or three times five,
even if you thoroughly investigate myriad forms
nothing can be depended upon.
Night advances, the moon glows and falls into the ocean.
The black dragon jewel* you have been searching for is everywhere.

—Xuedou, From: Moon In Dewdrop - Writings of Zen Master Dogen, pp. 60, North Point Press

* The Black Dragon Jewel is a rare and valuable jewel found under the chin of a black dragon, symbolizing Buddha-Dharma and original face. (The image of a black dragon with a jewel is represented in the Zen monastery as a fishlike wooden carving, called a hō, which is struck with a mellet before meals.

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