I want so to say that i feel your pain, but we’d both know that was an utter lie.
I can tell you abut my pain, describe it at great length, and I will be utterly disappointed when you admit you can only imagine it as a reflection of your own pain, which I am certain doesn’t begin to rise to the level of mine, but that is your failure, and I will forgive it for I know that my pain is unique and beyond even your imagination.
So let us just agree that each of our pains is beyond the contemplation of the other, secure in our own uniqueness.
The Hawaiian language has 12 letters which is important to understand particularly if you consider writing an apostrophic poem, not to a person or thing, but to a letter of the alphabet.
It might help to explain why Hawaiian poets never write about zoology or the role that zygotes play in life, and leave zymurgy to the haoles, for native Hawaiians prefer a linear life, free of endless zigs and zags
I don’t imagine I will try and learn Hawaiian any time soon, although with twelve letters, I’d have an easier time of it than Russian, say, but nor will I write an apostrophic poem to the letter Z although I will open a bottle of zinfandel to honor it.
My first inclination, in fact my strong desire, when he asks me what time it is, is not to consult my watch, but to say that we live in an age of unprecedented uncertainty, an era of division and incivility, and days fraught with risk that each might be the last.
I know he wants to know the hour and the minute, but if he is late, the moment wasted in knowing just how much so merely adds marginally to the problem.
And if the question lacks that import to him, then time is no more than a human construct, malleable despite our demand of rigidity, and subject to the whims of Popes and politicians, and all the rest of nature can only marvel at our absurdity.
A single snowy egret sits on the lowest branch of a long barren tree, where hours from now a thousand birds will arrive for still another evening and night.
He stares at me as I am mindfully vacuuming, watching carefully.
I pause and ask if by chance he is a Buddha and he lifts his long neck and peers around in all directions.
I repeat my question, and he lifts one wing, which I know to be his way of saying, “I, like you, am imbued with Buddha nature, and I with mother nature as well, and if you doubt me ask one of the countless Bodhisattvas who will arrive in hours to study the Dharma well into what will be a wet night.
You may come asking questions, and perhaps the teacher will answer you with a discourse. If you go deaf and hear nothing, if the words flit like so many mayflies just as soon gone, if no word finds purchase you will have a grasp the heart of the Dharma.
A reflection on Case 54 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)