"Whitman and Dogen" number 81 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.
Walt Whitman and Dogen both pondered the question of our lives. In the long poem, Song of Myself, Whitman eventually comes to see the question as full of contradictions and yet is unsurprised and unapologetic.
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Song of Myself - Walt Whitman 1855
Dogen speaks to this same contradiction in the Genjokoan.
To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of realization remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.
Actualizing the Fundamental Point (Genjokoan) - Dogen 1233
To study the self is to forget the self. As I sit, I see the transitory nature of what ever I can call self. These constellations of senses (which includes thoughts) or sense moments prove to be unsubstantial. They arise, play out and disappear and all that is left is the field on which this and that all played on.
What is the nature of that field? "I am large, I contain multitudes" begins to point in the general direction.
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.