Muchu Setsumu (夢中説夢)
Giving Expression to the Vision within the Vision
Roar of the Tigress, Vol. II: Zen for Spiritual Adults
[Lectures on Dogen's Shobogenzo] by Abbess Houn Jiyu-Kennett, Roshi
Photo: Guanyin Bodhisattva with small Buddha seated in her Crown
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[In the Muchu Setsumu, Dogen Zenji says:] 
 "'A vision expressed within a vision' is what all Buddhas are, and all Buddhas are 'wind and rain, water and fire.' They accept and keep in mind the latter epithet and They accept and keep in mind the former epithet. 'A vision expressed from within a vision' is what the Buddha of old was. Riding within this treasured vehicle, He forthwith arrived at His sitting place, where He realized the Truth. 'Arriving at His sitting place, where He realized the Truth' is synonymous with 'His riding within this treasured vehicle.'"
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[Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett comments:] 
 Recognizing the Buddha nature in all things is the beginning of being able to understand the vision within our dream. We then go beyond this and simultaneously recognize their individuality, discerning the differences between "wind and rain, water and fire." To see their true nature while seeing their individuality, without being caught up in that individuality, is to see a vision within a vision. This is the same thing as seeing "All is one all is different." The "all is different" of duality is our usual dream. It is wonderful to get to the place where you can see that all is One, for that is the vision seen from within our dream. Whilst we are in the dream, if we refer to the Unborn [immortal being] as anything other than a vision, then we give It a form and limit It. But then you have to go on beyond the "all is One" to the Immaculacy of Emptiness, wherein "all is one and all is different," if you would fully awaken to the vison within a vision. This is extremely difficult to explain and has to be considered with great care and in great detail.

The last two sentences in [Dogen's] passage are deeply encoded. At their obvious level they mean that it is through the vehicle of our training that we arrive at the place of realization, and that is quite true. But "riding in the treasured vehicle" can also refer to the rising of the spriritual energy up the spine, another meaning of the "going up of the pole." Sometimes the tiger chases you up to the head of the pole. "The sitting place" atop the pole is then the place of the Unborn. This sitting place is not something different than the leap into the unknown that I mentioned before. What is new here is that Dogen points out that the going directly to the sitting place is already contained within the riding of the treasured vehicle, so do not think that you are separate from the Unborn and that training is a process of going to the Unborn. The Unborn is everywhere here and now and, in our dream state, we are trying to make little islands of ourselves, separate within the midst of the Unborn. Because going directly to the sitting place is already contained within the riding of the treasured vehicle, in this sense there are no dreams and there is nowhere to go. We must, therefore, take care to despise nothing, not even our little world of dreams.
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(*) Note on "the rising of the spiritual energy," from KUNDALINI AND THE CHAKRAS, by Genevieve Lewis Paulson: "Once release is started, there is no turning back. It will continue on its own. Kundalini release is a process with its own intelligence and goal, blending with the spiritual at the crown chakra: the dance of Shakti and Shiva."
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 In Japanese, Kundalini energy ("prana") is called "ki," in Chinese "ch'i or qi" (氣).
Graphic from Wikipedia Commons, CHAKRAS.
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(Zen Master) DOGEN ZENJI'S (道元禅師)
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