Uji: The Time-Being, by Eihi Dogen
Translated by Dan Welch and Kazuaki Tanahashi
from: The Moon in a Dewdrop; writings of Zen Master Dogen
An ancient buddha said:
For the time being stand on top of the highest peak.
For the time being proceed along the bottom of the deepest ocean.
For the time being three heads and eight arms.
For the time being an eight- or sixteen-foot body.
For the time being a staff or whisk.
For the time being a pillar or lantern.
For the time being the sons of Zhang and Li.
For the time being the earth and sky.
"For the time being" here means time itself is being, and all being is time. A golden sixteen-foot body is time; because it is time, there is the radiant illumination of time. Study it as the twelve hours of the present. "Three heads and eight arms" is time; because it is time, it is not separate from the twelve hours of the present.
Even though you do not measure the hours of the day as long or short, far or near, you still call it twelve hours. Because the signs of time's coming and going are obvious, people do not doubt it. Although they do not doubt it, they do not understand it. Or when sentient beings doubt what they do not understand, their doubt is not firmly fixed. Because of that, their past
doubts do not necessarily coincide with the present doubt. Yet doubt itself is nothing but time.