As said, Dogen got dealt his own cards. 13th century Japan, the Buddhism widely prevalent at the time, his mother and father who molded the tiny child. So who was it asked the question? "Who am I"? Out of the cards dealt him, Dogen sought his very own unique time and place. I think he found it. Reading about him, reading his own words, I have immense respect for him as a human being. He had integrity - perhaps a word now going out of fashion.......do we even know what it means any more in our celebrity culture where, as far as the sheer suffering of our world is concerned, we all have the attention spans of goldfish?
Of course, we can be fools and simply make Dogen's time and place our own. But that was not his intention, nor should it be ours.
According to one fine book on Dogen, he was a mystical realist (which says much). He was in the zen zone of authenticating everyday existence, this for the "return to the market-place" of common-or-garden life, out of compassion for future generations. Dogen spoke of the dropping of body and mind, which as I understand it is part metaphor - it is losing the compulsions of the past, its congealed conditioning, and truly being in the present, where the only extension is intensity/authenticity.
One commentator has likened his outlook to that of Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy, of a constant advance into novelty, where everything is always new under the sun.
I have always loved Dogen's view that nothing is concealed
. As Hee Jin-Kim, one commentator, says:- Mystery, in Dōgen’s view, did not consist of that which was hidden or unknown in darkness or that which would be revealed or made known in the future. Rather, it consisted of the present intimacy, transparency, and vividness of thusness, for “nothing throughout the entire universe is concealed” (henkai-fuzōzō). Nevertheless, the mystery of emptiness and thusness had to go beyond this: intimacy had to be ever penetrated (tōkamitsu) or, as is said, the road goes on forever - the journey itself is home.
So although the "now" is all that there ever is, there is nevertheless, for Dogen, a "movement toward Buddha".
Well, enough mumbo jumbo for now.
So would the following be a Dogen like parable?
'Concealment is not it's intention, if it could speak then so it would, alas it has no mouth and only you to scream.'