The Buddha Is Donkeys and Horses

02/24/2016 02:38 pm ET Updated Feb 23, 2017

A monk asked Zen Master Xuan'na, "The Buddhist scriptures say, 'The Buddha's one and only indestructible body, solid and without gaps, appears in every mote of dust.' What is this indestructible body?"
Xuan'na said, "Donkeys, horses, kitty cats." The monk said, "Please, master, explain this to me!" Master Xuan'na said, "The donkeys and horses don't understand it either."

--Jingdechuandenglu, scroll 19

問教云。唯一堅密身一切塵中現。如何是堅密身。師曰。驢馬貓兒。曰乞師指示。師曰。驢馬也不會.

景德傳燈錄卷第十九


It is everywhere.

But it doesn't know it's everywhere.

Not knowing it's everywhere is how it's everywhere.

Not knowing it's everywhere is how it's everywhere knowing.

It is present as all things, and its presence is the presence of all things.

It is present in the manner all things are present.

It is knowing in the way all things are knowing, and not-knowing in the way all things are not-knowing.

It is present as donkeys and horses. It knows as donkeys and horses know. What do donkeys and horses know? Not that they are Buddha, not that they are everywhere. That is how the Buddha is everywhere.

If you don't understand, don't worry: neither do they.

If you don't understand, don't worry: you are just like them, who are the indestructible body of Buddha.

If you don't understand how Buddhahood, which is supreme awakening, pure awareness, unblemished knowing, can be present without knowing it is present, don't worry: this not-knowing is precisely its presence, precisely its way of knowing all things in all ways.

To know things in all ways means to know things in many different ways, and each different way of knowing means not knowing something, not knowing what is known in the other ways.

Buddhahood does not need to know "Buddhahood." The eye cannot see itself. The fingertip cannot touch itself. When the shoe fits, the feet are forgotten. When Buddhahood functions, it forgets about Buddhahood.

If you don't understand Buddhahood, you are just like the donkeys and horses.

If you don't understand how Buddhahood can be present in donkeys and horses, you are just like donkeys and horses, in whom Buddhahood is present.

If you don't understand how Buddhahood can be present in donkeys and horses, you are experiencing the Buddhahood of the donkeys and horses, their not-knowing of their own Buddhahood.

If you don't understand, you are the indestructible body of the Buddha, gapless and solid, manifesting in every mote of dust.

Your not-understanding the Buddha's presence in these donkeys and horses is the Buddha's presence in these donkeys and horses.

Your not-understanding the Buddha's presence in these donkeys and horses is the presence, the function, the awareness of the one and only indestructible body of the Buddha, solid and without gap, appearing complete and entire in and as each and every randomly twisting floating eyelessly dancing speck of dust, blinking out through the eyes of cow and cat and donkey, scattered and scattering everywhere.