The boat of Master Dogen's Zenki is neither big nor small, but thoroughly right here and everywhere, comfortably holding all. You have a rudder in hand, the rudder has you in hand, and here and now is the pivot point which sets the direction amid circumstances. It is sailing across life and death, what's in between, before and after... nothing left out.
(Click through for more and to watch today's talk and "sit-a-long.")
Dogen says to cast none of life or death away and to embrace it all thoroughly, even as we may cast "life & death" away from mind thoroughly... embracing completely and casting away completely, all at once. (Thus, we can be free of "life" and "death" both by abandoning and salvaging, boarding and departing the vessel of life ... all at once ... as if a boat we energetically get on, yet were on all along ... regally and contentedly step off, though there's no place off this vessel.) Both life and death are just the realities of life's changing voyage; both life and death are just a sailor's dream.
All carries us, is just us, sometimes going with the current, sometimes swept along in rough seas a bit queasy... on this "Nothing Left Out, Flowing Right Here, Everything and Then Some Trip" of life ...
WHAT A RIDE!
The buddhas' great truth, when perfectly mastered, is liberation and is realization. This "liberation" describes that - for some - life liberates life and death liberates death. Therefore, there is getting out of life-and-death and there is entering into life-and-death, both of which are the perfectly mastered great truth. And there is abandoning of life-and-death and there is salvaging of life-and-death, both of which are the perfectly mastered great truth. Realization is life, and life is realization. At the moment of this realization, there is nothing that is not the "'total" realization of life, and there is nothing that is not the "total" realization of death. This momentary pivot-state can cause life to be and can cause death be. The very moment of the present in which this pivot-state is realized is not necessrily great and not necessarily small, is neither the whole world nor a limited area, and is neither long-lasting nor short and pressed. Life in the present exists in this pivot-state, and this pivot-state exists in life in the present. Life is not [a process of] appearance; life is not [a process of] disappearance; life is not a manifestation in the present; and life is not a realization- Rather, life is "the manifestation of all functions,"and death is "the manifestation of all functions." Remember, among the countless dharmas that are present in the self, there is life and there is death. Let us quietly consider whether our own present life. and the miscellaneous real dharmas that are coexisting with this life, are part of life or not part of life... There is nothing, not a single moment nor a single dharma, that is not part of life, There is nothing, not a single matter nor a single state of mind, that is not part of life.
(from Master Dogen's Shobogenzo Zenki - translation by Gudo Nishijima and Chodo Cross)