There is a saying: ‘Don’t have your dealings with people. Have your dealings with heaven.’ If you have your dealings with people as they are you will be entangled in like and dislike. Have your dealings with heaven, with space, and there is heaven in them, heaven in yourself.
Don’t have your dealings with the clouds. Have your dealings with the sky. The clouds are the sky frowning, so to speak. There used to be an old song ‘Painting the Clouds with Sunshine’. Well, this is the opposite of the Buddhist training which is not trying to paint virtues onto something basically deluded, but is trying to dissolve delusions. There is a Japanese poem:
The clouds are clearing up and soon there will be light’
— don’t think like this.
From the very beginning, in the sky,
there has been the bright moon.
So, it is not painting; it is clearing: Don’t have your dealings with the clouds. Have your dealings with heaven. Don’t have your dealings with the clouds in the people and in yourself, but have your dealings with the heaven which is shining in the people and in your own heart.
[From a talk given in 1987. Trevor Leggett (1914-2000) was a leading writer on Zen Buddhism, lived for many years in Japan, was a judo expert, wrote and translated a considerable number of books among which was his last, The Old Zen Master: Inspirations for Awakening, Buddhist Publishing Group ]