Kanji for Muryoko

'Infinite Light'

Journal of Shin Buddhism

Harold Stewart

Reflections of The Moon

The traditional Buddhist image of the One Moon reflected in the many waters of the ocean, seas, lakes, pools, and even a single drop of dew was widely employed by the Mahayana sages and poets as a symbol for the One Universal Mind of Bodhi mirrored in the many individual minds benighted by Ignorance, in order to figure their awakened Bodhicitta, or aspiration to Enlightenment. Dogen Zenji, in the first chapter of his Shobogenzo, succinctly restates it thus: 'When human beings attain Enlightenment, it is like the moon reflected in the water. The moon appears in the water but does not get wet, nor is the water disturbed by the moon. The light of the moon covers the earth and yet it can be contained in a small pool of water or in a tiny dewdrop'.

Stated in Pure Land Buddhist terms: As the moon is reflected in each drop of evening dew or as it is mirrored in every pond, no matter how muddy it may be, so Amida Buddha manifests his thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty marks of excellence in a mind in samadhi, or motionless contemplation. Our faith, if any, is like the moon in a muddy pool, the mere reflection of the real Moon alone in the sky. But in the case of Amida and all who have received his Faith, they are identical, for Amida took the infinite care and consideration to realize his Dharma within our spiritual capacities (bhajani-bhuta). Doctrinally stated, these two, the Dharma and bhajani bhuta, our receptive powers, are not different but in supreme identity (advaya-lakshana). The Moon above and the moon below are not two. This identification is effected through the Nembutsu, which acts like a 'magic word' (Shingon) conveying the moonbeam of Bodhi, the Mind of Faith, which purifies and enlightens man's polluted mind.

The white light of the full moon is the Pure Consciousness of Vairochana (Japanese: Birushana) representing the masculine aspect of the Dharmakaya (Hosshin), who lives in Jojakkodo, the Land of Eternally Tranquil Light. The ethereal blue of the night sky, representing the feminine aspect of the Dharmakaya, stands for Shunyata, which is likened to formless Space. So together they figure the Clear Light of Bodhi shining out of the Universal Void.

Reflections on the Dharma - Harold Stewart

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