As you wander around looking for a place to build a temple, looking for eden, looking for nirvana, stop and simply sit, listen to the breeze teaching you the Dharma, the clouds chanting the sutras in a harmony beyond your hearing. Look down for you are in your temple, sitting in eden nirvana at your feet.
A reflection on case 4 of the Book of Equanimity Koans
We sit around the small tables glad to be out of the sun whose midday glare seems to blind the drivers slowly approaching the Jetty Park lot.
A family chatters, the children laughing at nothing, at everything, and nearby a dog lays out dreaming of a good walk and dinner, hoping for scraps.
We can hear the water of the inlet, the waves breaking onto the beach, visuals left to our imaginations, but we are satisfied with that, and the fact that our tacos here are far more reasonable with the “without the view” discount.
You learn to shop carefully, always searching for where an item is made, avoiding places you know are not socially responsible.
The search is complicated by the lack of nearby stores, by the ubiquity of Amazon, by the certainty that the product won’t arrive for some time, and when you find one you like, you scroll down and see the magic buzzword “Imported” and you know from experience that is another way of saying China, and the search goes on.
The mountain reaches up grasping clouds. The river no longer runs red down its flanks now traversed by a black ribbon twisting upward. The Hertz rental has a warning taped on the glove box driving above 5,000 feet is prohibited, and at the driver’s risk. The Minolta sits in the trunk as I deny the siren’s call.
FirstAppeared in Raconteur, Issue 3, January 1996.
It is incredibly sad when all you have seen is Paris from a taxi hurtling toward the center of the city, because you are late for a meeting, and then your view out of the conference room window is another glass building which, if you lean your head far enough right gives you the reflection of the Eiffel Tower.
As the meeting drags on you realize you must pay attention as another taxi speeds you to the Charles DeGaulle airport Hilton for a dinner meeting and sleep before your 6 A.M. flight to Zurich, and you begin to think that Paris and New York arent all that different from the back seat of a taxi.
He liked nothing more than slipping out the back of the Ritz Carlton and heading down Nonhyeon-ro, more alley than street, past the small bulgogi restaurant, and winding his way to Gangnam-daero 106, finally arriving on the great avenue, Gangnam-daero. It was buzzing with life at all hours, but in the early evening the Virgin Megastore was quieter. He’d slip in, ignoring the rock blaring on the first floor, the insane K-Pop on two and finally, passing through classical, arriving at the international section tucked away in a third floor corner. He’d rummage for Celtic CDs, certain he’d find things he never could get at home, for while Korea was so greatly influenced by America, Virgin, a good U.K. company, brought its CDs from England and sold them at surprisingly low prices. A bit of the ould sod in Korea, and hey, kimchi was once green right?
Some day I need to return to Tokyo and walk its streets listening for the soundtrack that Haruki Murakami requires of the city, bebop jazz in Shinjuku, classical when wandering Asakusa and Senso-ji, and rock on the streets of Shibuya.
I have often been there, but my soundtrack was that of horns and the clatter of a pachinko parlor, or the pitched giggles of young girls walking hand in hand down Omotesando, dreaming of what they could buy in the shops of Aoyama.
In my dreams I wandered the alleys of Lisbon searching for a familiar face, and many came close, but no man stopped me and asked if I was, by chance his son, for he dreamed I was what a son of his would look like.
Now I have no need to wander for I know he is in a military cemetery in Burlington, New Jersey, and I doubt he had any idea in life he had another son, or a daughter in Italy, for weekends were quickly passed when you had to be back at the base by midnight on Sunday.