In the Great Way of the Buddhas and Patriarchs surely there is supreme ceaseless practice that continues endlessly. There is not the slightest gap between awakening the mind, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana; ceaseless practice continuously revolves. Therefore, it does not depend on individual powerful acts nor on the spirit of others. It is undefiled ceaseless practice. The virtue of ceaseless practice maintains self and others. Essentially, our ceaseless practice fills heaven and earth and influences everything with its virtue. Although we may be unaware of it, it still occurs.
Hence, from the ceaseless practice of all the Buddhas and Patriarchs our own ceaseless practice emerges, and we can attain the Great Way. From our own ceaseless practice, the ceaseless practice of all the Buddhas emerges, and all Buddhas attain the Great Way.
From our own ceaseless practice, there is endless virtue. Accordingly, all the Buddhas and Patriarchs endlessly live as Buddha, transcend Buddha, have the mind of Buddha, and become Buddha. Through ceaseless practice, the sun, moon, and stars move, and the great earth and vast space, the right body and mind, and the four great elements and five skandhas exist. Ceaseless practice is not in the places worldly people seek, yet all must return to it. Through the ceaseless practice of all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future, all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future emerge. The virtue of ceaseless practice is never hidden; therefore the mind is aroused and practice begins. Its virtue, however, is not immediately revealed, and thus it cannot be seen, heard, or comprehended. Although it is not revealed, do not study it as something hidden. Causation is ceaseless practice; ceaseless practice is not causation–we must study this in detail. Ceaseless practice which manifests ceaseless practice is nothing other than ceaseless practice of the present. Ceaseless practice of the present is not the ceaseless practice of the original self, nor does it come and go, exit and enter. “In the present” does not mean “existing prior to ceaseless practice.” It refers to the time ceaseless practice emerges. Therefore, that is why the ceaseless practice of one day is the seed of all the Buddhas. Through ceaseless practice, all Buddhas are manifest and their ceaseless practice occurs. No ceaseless practice emerges when we despise the Buddhas, do not respect them, detest ceaseless practice, do not identify life and death with Buddha, and do not study and practice. The present world of “blooming flowers and falling leaves” is actualization of ceaseless practice. Polishing and then smashing a mirror is not different from ceaseless practice. Therefore, anyone who tries to escape from ceaseless practice because of a malicious heart cannot do so; even that action is within ceaseless practice. Trying to ignore ceaseless practice is like the son of the rich man who lost his patrimony and wandered through other lands as a beggar. He managed to survive the harsh elements and eventually regained his patrimony. We should not forget ceaseless practice for even a minute.
Master Dogen: Shobogenzo – Gyoji chapter