KEMBO’S ONE ROAD 鐵笛倒吹 八十四

As you walk along a road
do you know where it begins
or where it will end
and what lies along it.

Perhaps the road
is a twisted loop
with neither beginning
or ending,
but if asked
where you are
on the road
you are always
here.


A reflection on Case 84 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki tōsui)

USER’S MANUAL

In my dreams last night
I thought I came across the Buddha
while off wandering somewhere
I could not recognize.
I thought long and hard
about following Linji’s proscription
and killing the Buddha,
but while lost in contemplation
the Buddha took up his keisaku,
said “if you cannot follow
the simplest of directions,
if you are so lost in thought
you can never attain buddhahood”
and with one significant blow
instantly killed my dream
and allowed me to finally see.

TO BE, OR

The beauty and the difficulty
of being in the moment
is the realization that there is
no moment in which to be.
When you ask what time it is,
I can only answer by referring
to what time it is not, for time
must be relative to that
which no longer exists,
or has yet to come into existence.
Do not seek to be in this moment,
but rather simply be, for being
without seeking anything is at once
the most difficult task
you can undertake,
and the simplest.

TEMPUS FUGIT

The problem with bringing then
into now is that now slips away
and then no longer really exists.
You may wish all you like for summer
to remain, but Autumn demands her due
and even the leaves grow tired
and need that final rest.
Do not deny the clouds, but treat them
like a stray thought, let them
be present, and let them leave
and take what they offer
without complaint, for they
are fragile and will flee
like the kitten, and you
will never be able to coax

a return until they are ready.
Now, where were you?

UN4SEEN

Next week, somewhere,
something will happen.
Several people will say
they foresaw it,
others will be equally
certain it was
entirely unpredictable.
The truth, of course,
will be elusive
allowing everyone
the certainty of uncertainty.
It would be so much
easier if nothing happened
but things never happen
according to anyone’s
overly simple plans.

RINZAI’S ENLIGHTENMENT 正法眼蔵 二十七

 

If you ask your question
you will find an answer
but ask another and the stick
will respond each time.
If you seek another teacher
will you change the question
or the answer, and does it matter.
Take up the stick, who
will you strike, your teacher
or yourself, and is there
any real difference?


A reflection on Case 27 of the Shobogenzo – Dogen’s True Dharma Eye