This passage pops into my mind from time to time, it really puts my practice in a nutshell for me.
My wife had given me a mikan, a kind of Japanese tangerine, for lunch that day—and I sat at my desk and started to peel it. As I watched the peel come free from the fruit, I was struck by how beautiful it was. It was one tangerine, perfect in its own way. The orange color leapt out at me, as if it was glowing from the inside, brighter than a neon light. The intensity of its beauty was almost painful to me. I’ve seen some beautiful sights in my life: sunset over the Pacific from the western shore of Maui, Mount Kilimanjaro rising above the plain as elephants and giraffes saunter by in the foreground, the tranquil dignity of ancient Buddhist temples. But at that moment nothing could compare to that little tangerine in my hands. I felt so grateful just to be me, just to be sitting at my desk, just to be able to peel and taste and eat that tangerine. No one else would ever taste that tangerine.
When I got back home I sent Nishijima another e-mail telling him about the tangerine and thanking him for setting me straight. The next day I got his reply: “Eating a tangerine is real enlightenment.” It was something he really didn’t need to say. Still, I was glad he did.