When a leaf leaves the tree it falls precisely where it should. When a flower petal is carried off on a strong wind it comes to rest in the proper place. When you smell the sweet aroma of next summer’s roses use the nose you had before your parents were born.
A reflection on case 32 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye) Koans
If I were a character in a novel, say by Kawabata, that evening we met twenty years ago, I would have placed my hand lightly on your shoulder, and I would have felt a heat, embers of a passion that would, in hours, leave me consumed by it.
I was a middle-aged, soon to be divorced man on his first date in thirty years, imagine a teenager knowing what not to do, but with no idea of what to do save chatter and periodically gaze at his shoes.
I was, as the evening progressed, bold enough to take your hand, and hoped that my fear and anxiety might be mistaken as romantic, or bold and daring, anything but the reality that was consuming me.
We’ve been together twenty years, and as I read Kawabata again, I recall those first moments, but in this revised edition it was your passion I felt in that first touch, a flame that consumes me to this day.
The clouds this evening are the deep gray that so long to be black, but the retreated sun just below the horizon lingers long enough to deny them.
The space, shrinking, between the clouds, is the gray of promise that the night will soon deny, and the birds who take over the preserve, chant their vespers, each in his or her own language, uncommon tongues singing their hymn punctured, punctuated by the flapping of wings, as the night encloses us in a cocoon that will carry us into the coming morning.
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.
Tonight, if all goes well, I will be a monk in a good-sized Buddhist temple. I am hoping it will be in Nara, at Todai-ji perhaps, or Asakusa at Senso-ji, or better still somewhere in Kyoto, although it might well be in the Myanmar jungle or somewhere deep within the Laotian highlands.
One problem with that world is that I have no control over it, which, come to think of it, leaves it like the waking world which has never hewn to my direction.
I’ve had this desire for weeks on end, and I suspect tonight will be no different, and I will spend eight hours sorting files, writing cease and desist letters and trying to convince myself that even that is a form of mindful meditation and abiding kensho will arrive in the next rapid eye movement.
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.