“Not here, not there—but everywhere always right before your eyes.” (Stanza 21)

This line says it all. Objectively, “this is it”. There is no second moon. There is only this moon, and it is it. Everything is it. And every thing is everything.

Subjectively, “I am it”. There is nothing else to be. There is nowhere else to go—nothing to discover—nothing to achieve. The “true self” is precisely the self that I am; there is no other. There is nothing to become. Between what I am and what I might become there is no difference.

This is how I understand the “gateless gate”. It leads nowhere, because it is precisely whatever and wherever this moment of experience “is”. “It is finished” precisely because nothing has ever needed to be done.

It all amounts to a “Yes!” so profound that it folds back into itself. It loses itself in itself.

Unfortunately, I mostly only think this. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter. That’s the point; but it’s a point that stands before me. There is this gate, and although I do not pass through it, there remains no place else to go.

The context is a very Zhuangzian (and Huizian) reference to the sameness—oneness—of all differences. Any differences we might imagine within time and space, existence and non-existence, are completely irrelevant. But that’s their relevance. Without our imagining them, there could be no imagining of their oneness. “Here a single thought is as ten thousand years.” Think about it.

For the author of the Xin-Xin Ming, this is “the Dharma-truth”. For Zhuangzi, it’s just another way of imagining things that has happy psychological benefits.

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