We know that the moon’s light is actually the reflected light of the sun. For billions of years, the moon has reflected this light and we can imagine that the continued practice of this reflection has changed the nature of the moon. The moon’s practice is to let the sun’s light bounce off of it, not hindering it in any way. Our practice should be like this, actively reflecting everything in our lives. When a friend is sad, we are sad; when our friend is happy, we are happy.
But this is not something that we cause to happen. If we try to make this reflection happen, we end up acting phony and instead of finding liberation within this life as it is, we end up wearing a very uncomfortable mask, a face on our face. It would be like the moon trying to be the moon so that it can shine more like the moon. But when has the moon not been perfect in its shining? It cannot shine in any other way than perfectly because it does not cling to the light when it comes. When light comes, the moon just lets the light be itself. Thus the moon is liberated as the light is liberated. Also, when darkness falls, the new moon lets the darkness be the darkness, and in liberating darkness, the moon nevertheless is reflecting pure light.
So the moon shines because that is its nature. It does not need another nature. We also do not need–and can never have–another nature. We are already radiantly shining, but because we cling to shining, we cannot see the light that is all around us. It is like the moon shining brightly behind heavy clouds. And there’s the rub: clouds comes without cessation. Desires are inexhaustible. How can you liberate the moon without wanting things to be different?
Clouds fill the vast sky,
Covering the brilliant moon.
Pure, bright light illuminates the world.