sometimes standing on top of the highest peak,

sometimes moving along the bottom of the deepest ocean,

sometimes the earth and space.

we can never measure how long and distant,
or how short and pressing,
twelve hours is.

the leaving and coming
of the directions and traces of time are clear,
so people do not doubt it.
that does not mean they know it.

doubt is nothing other than time.

we put our self in order,
and see the resulting state
as the whole universe.

moment of time
does not hinder
moment of time.

there are minds
which are made up
in the same moment of time,

and there are moments of time
in which
the same mind
is made up.

self is time

when we arrive
in the field
of the ineffable,
there is just one thing
and one phenomenon,

here and now,
beyond understanding
of phenomena
and non-understanding of phenomena,
beyond understanding
of things
and non-understanding of things.

real existence
is only

all moments
of existence-time
are the whole of time,

let us pause to reflect
whether or not
any of the whole of existence
or any of the whole universe
has leaked away
from the present moment
of time.

we should not learn
that “flying”
is the only
ability of time.

if we just left time to fly away,
some gaps in it might appear.

those who fail to experience
and to hear the truth
of existence-time
do so because
they understand time
only as having passed.

to grasp the pivot
and express it:

all that exists throughout the whole universe
is lined up in a series
and at the same time
is individual moments of time.

because time is existence-time,
it is my existence-time.

human skin bags recognize time
as leaving and coming,
none has penetrated it
as existence-time abiding.

who can express the state
of having already attained
the ineffable?

even bodhi and nirvana
are merely a form
which leaves and comes


without any cessation
of restrictions and hindrances,
existence-time is realized.

celestial kings and celestial throngs,
now appearing to the right and appearing to the left,
are the existence-time in which
we are now exerting ourselves.

beings of existence-time
of land and sea
are realized
through our own exertion

the whole universe
is neither beyond moving and changing
nor beyond progressing and regressing;
it is passage
from one moment
to the next.

the momentary passing
of spring,
for example,
inevitably passes,
moment by moment,
through spring itself.

all these situations
are existence-time.

in accordance with this truth
the bright star appears,
the suchness appears,
the eye appears,
picking up a flower appears,
and this is just time.

sometimes the will is present
but the words are absent,
sometimes the words are present
but the will is absent,
sometimes the will and the words
are both present,
sometimes the will and the words
are both absent.

the will and the words are both existence-time.

presence and absence are both existence-time.

the moment of presence has not finished,

presence is not related to having come, and absence is not related to not having come.

existence-time is like this.

presence is restricted by presence, it is not restricted by absence.

absence is restricted by absence,
it is not restricted by presence.

the will hinders the will and meets the will.

words hinder words and meet words.

restriction hinders restriction and meets restriction.

restriction restricts restriction.

this is time.

restriction is utilized by objective reality, but restriction that restricts objective reality has never occurred.

i meet with a human being,
a human being meets with a human being,
i meet with myself,
and manifestation meets with manifestation.

though venerable patriarchs hitherto have each spoken as they have, how could there be nothing further to say?

i would like to say: the half-presence of will and words is existence-time, the half-absence of will and words is existence-time.

when we experience coming and experience leaving, and when we experience presence and experience absence, like this, that time is existence-time.

- Sensei Dōgen
(who established the first Zen monastery in Japan)

All of this came from Shōbōgenzō (正法眼蔵, meaning "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye") Uji (有時, meaning "Existence-Time") Written at Kōshōhōrinji on the first day of winter in the first year of Ninji, 1242 on our "AD" or "CE" calendar, as translated into English by Nishijima Gudo Wafu (西嶋愚道和夫). Most of the text was left out here on this blog-post, with the intention of making it shorter and a bit more poetic, but nothing was out of order or changed, other than going with the all-lowercase and my choosing the specific and likely inaccurate "reality" in place of "dharma" in the part where it said: "Restriction is utilized by objective reality, but restriction that restricts objective reality has never occurred." If you would like to hold volume one of Shobogenzo, which includes "Existence-Time" thus translated, in your hands and read it, click here to purchase one, and if you would like to have the text of the same volume one in PDF for free, click here.


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