The teacher said, “I'm not asking about before the full moon, say a word or two about after the full moon.” The teacher answered his own question, “Every day is a good day.”
The teacher here is Yunmen. Here is addressing the assembly concerning enlightenment. He is not asking about before enlightenment, he wants a word about after enlightenment, what it is like, how things go. Before anyone can say a thing he pulls the rug out from under the question by saying, “Every day is a good day.” Yunmen’s invitation is to explore that space before we have labelled this good and that bad, before celebrating has and lamenting has not.
It might be hard for us to fathom, but there is room in our lives for everything, including sickness, pain, and emotional upset. There is room in life for the things that we might label as bad. There has to be. Why? Because all sort of things happen in life. A number of years ago I was speaking to someone who was “knocking on heaven’s door,” soon to die. As we greeted one another I remarked on how grateful I was to see her. She responded, “I am thankful to see you as well. It is a good day to be alive.” Even though she would die the next day, there was room in her life for gratitude, gratefulness in the midst of things. Yunmen, understood this. When he spoke these words it was at a time of Buddhist repression in China. Yet, he was led to say, in that gap before categorizing and dividing the world in two, “Every day is a good day.” Christian mystic, Julian of Norwich taught much the same thing. An anchorite at the cathedral in Norwich, England, Julian lived in a time of plague, and the Hundred Years War. AND she declared, “All is well, and all is well and every manner of thing shall be well.”
“Every day is a good day,” "All shall be well," is a celebration of being alive, being right here, living and breathing, opening to what comes.