True person manifest throughout the ten quarters of the world

by Eihei Dogen

English version by Steven Heine
Original Language Japanese

The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone, everywhere in the world.

-- from The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace, by Steven Heine

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/ Photo by Alejandra Mavroski /


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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

It's been too long since our last selection by Dogen Zenji.

True to Zen form, Dogen cuts right to the essential here.

Look for the true person deeply enough, and we find it. We find it in ourselves. But not in ourselves in a particular way. It is not in oneself while absent in another. We are quietly startled to discover that this true person is not contained by our skin. It does not stop at the edges of our lives. It does not even restrict itself to the borders of our far-flung thoughts. No, it flows out in all directions, utterly heedless of walls and distances and the greedy human mind.

But, like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone, everywhere in the world.


Find that one. Not only will you have found the true person, you will have discovered your very self spread out across existence!



Recommended Books: Eihei Dogen

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter The Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) The Soul is Here for its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures





True person manifest