Most people go out of their way to gaze at the full moon and think it’s the most beautiful. But the full moon doesn’t last long, and, most of the time, if you look very carefully, you’ll see that it’s not perfectly round. It’s always a little lop-sided, a little bit off.
If you’re clever, and you quit looking for the full moon, if you really let go of that futile search for purity and perfection, then you will realize that the moon is really only balanced when it is the new moon. It is a very wonderful and freeing feeling. Master Wanshi called this “the thousand-year darkness of the new moon.” He meant it is an easy place to get stuck for a long time, failing to see the moon as it really is.
Just before he died, master Rakuho sought an heir. On his deathbed, he used the moon as a hook and clouds for bait. The head monk tried to bite, but he just bit on a reflection in the pool. The attendant Genju was better: he licked the bait, and Rakuho thought he might pull in a trophy fish with golden scales. But Genju was afraid to be himself in his master’s presence. It’s like that sometimes because we don’t want to bring disappointment to ourselves or to those we love with our failings. Though he had licked the bait, he couldn’t swallow hook. In the vast darkness, he did not know where to swim.
How does one seek the perfect understanding? Biting the hook is certain death; not biting is a thousand years of going hungry in the dark. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m saying that, like a goldfish in a bowl, one must grow to fill the ocean of moonlight.
PS: Let me see what you think of this. Leave a comment below!