In addition to the volumes of essays and lectures on Zen and Zen practice, Dogen also expressed himself and his teachings through poetry. This particular verse, which reflects on a moment of realization in which the poet’s mind underwent a profound perceptive shift, is written in a Chinese style. The translation is Philip Whalen and Kazuaki Tanahashi’s version in the Moon in a Dewdrop collection.
All my life false and real, right and wrong tangled.
Playing with the moon, ridiculing wind, listening to birds….
Many years wasted seeing the mountain covered with snow.
This winter I suddenly realize snow makes a mountain.