If, sitting at your meal you hear the song of a bird, what do you do? You may tap your chopstick rest, and perhaps he will answer and repeat his sweet song. If you tap a second time and there is only silence is the bird rejecting you or offering his song to another, flown from your window.
Perhaps you should tap again and hear the sweeter song of silence that echoes over the garden and zendo. On a distant limb the small songbird smiles.
In the interstitial moment between birth and death a universe comes into existence, something that never before existed and existed always, new and well-known, unseen and visible for eternity.
Measure it well for it is incapable of measurement, and ends without warning and precisely on schedule. In the momentary breath that marks the transit, we proceed nowhere and cannot return to where we began.
If called before the Master will you walk from east to west to the Master’s Smile, or west to east, to a sudden frown. Will you approach the Master bowing with words of gratitude only to receive a blow of the stick or seeking instruction in your failure to an equal blow of the stick.
Ponder this carefully: what is the answer? I leave you the stick to reach a conclusion.