The Buddha's Essential Functioning
by Zen Master Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)
Translated by Taizan Maezumi Roshi and Neal Donner

The Buddha's essential functioning,
the partriarchs' functioning essence,
manifest without deliberation
and acomplishes without hindrance.

Manifesting without deliberation,
its manifestation is intimate of itself.
Accomplishing without hindrance,
its accomplishment is realized of itself.

Its manifestation, intimate of itself,
has never been defiled.
Its accomplishement, realized of itself,
is neither absolute nor relative.

The intimacy that is never defiled
drops away without dependence.
The realization that is neither absolute nor relative
penetrates without intent.

Clear water soaks into the earth;
the fish swims like a fish.
The sky is vast and penetrates the heavens;
the bird flies like a bird.