It happens every day, when I arise from the cushion and look, I see myself there. If you look, you say you see me as well. It will happen one day that when I arise from the cushion and look I will not see myself. If you look, you will say you see me, and I will nod in agreement. Each day when I see myself, I know that it is I who I am seeing. But each day I see an illusion, masquerading as I, a delusion, and I see you seeing me, a delusion. Each day you see me, you see a delusion, but a different delusion. Consider how strange this is, for on the day I do not see myself I see no delusion, but you see me and see a delusion, but I do not see you, for there is no me to see you, and just then I am free of delusion.
A reflection on Case 94 of the Blue Cliff Record (碧巌録, Hekiganroku)
The lake is slowly receding, fading, the lake we created arrogantly assuming that when it came to nature, we could be godlike. It’s withdrawal has revealed cars, boats and bodies we had not expected there, put by intention or accident, laid bare by nature, once our devoted servant we imagined then a prophet we so callously ignored, now in a retribution carefully ordained, the angel of destruction visiting singular plagues of drought upon us, and we know there are other plagues in store unless we do what we should have some time ago, and we know we will collectively suffer for the obstinacy of the few who value greed so highly.
On the path you may choose to ask your teacher to give you the heart of the dharma. Accept his silence and carry it with you for it is the seed from which the great lotus will arise. Peer within it and see nothing at all and cherish the gift of the heart of the Buddha.
A reflection on Case 1 of the Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku 碧巌録)
When you ask how you can get from where you are to Nirvana a wise teacher will tell you there is no there. There is only here and this is Nirvana. Then he will ask you the greater question– who are you really? How will you answer?
A reflection on Case 31 of the Book of Equanimity (従容錄, Shōyōroku)
Somewhere in the world at this very moment, something remarkable is being laid to ruin. It is our nature to tear down what we cannot understand, what we hold different, what does not comport with our present view of how things ought to be. Somewhere in the world at this very moment something remarkable is being born, is being created, is arising out of an idea, a thought, an emotion. We are all somewhere in the world at this very moment.
“When all else fails.” Oh, how I hate that phrase. Plan Omega perhaps, but how do they know all else has failed. Did they make a list? And just perhaps did one else succeed just a little. I mean failure ought to be complete. I know it never is, and if it isn’t tha complete failure then it was at least partially a success in that binary logic. So how do you ever get to when all else fails? God forbid you do, I don’t want to think about hearing “when all failed” for there is nothing to say after that is there?
There was a time when I would steal away for an hour and sit in the corner of my favorite coffee shop, watching people. There would always be students, fidgeting in a hurry to be somewhere for which they are late but dare not face uncaffeinated. There was an older man, his white and gray hair an absurd version of the Friars of old, the man would always have a book and a journal. I thought that curious, a professor perhaps, but I dared not interrupt him. Now, as you have guessed, it is I sitting in a coffee shop writing in my journal, by hair silver and white, bald on top and I wonder if anyone is reluctant to interrupt me.
If you ask your teacher if the cat in Schrodinger’s box his dead, he will say the cat is dead . If you ask your teacher if the cat in Schrodinger’s box is dead, he will say the cat is not dead. Dead and not dead , both the same
A reflection on Case 30 of the Book of Equanimity (従容錄, Shōyōroku)