On the way out from the sangha meeting last night, I saw the moon reflected in a puddle. Dogen writes about this a lot: the most widely-read selection of his work is titled Moon In A Dewdrop. In Zen writing, the moon often symbolizes enlightenment, as in the poem by Basho:
Barn's burnt down;Dogen, as always, makes it more complicated:
I can see the moon.
Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water. Enlightenment does not divide you, just as the moon does not break the water. You cannot hinder enlightenment, just as a drop of water does not hinder the moon in the sky. The depth of the drop is the height of the moon. Each reflection, however long of short its duration, manifests the vastness of the dewdrop, and realizes the limitlessness of the moonlight in the sky.That middle part is sometimes translated as "Enlightenment does not disturb the person, as the moon does not disturb the water": enlightenment doesn't make you a different person, and your personality and your lifetime of mental baggage are still there and need to be dealt with.
I don't think I'd ever seen the moon reflected in a puddle before--all that perfection, shining deeply in a pool of muddy water. I laughed a lot.