The wisest of men when asked at what time it is best to pursue the Way will answer when a thousand stars have made their presence known. The wisest student will say when cleaning myself by bathing in the mud. This will become clear when the frog consumes the dragon.
It is a large boulder in the middle of a rutted path. That path leads nowhere in particular. It comes to an end at the edge of what appears to be a dense forest. Several trees are posted with “Do Not Trespass” signs, long faded until you must stare to make out the words. The forest is foreboding, so it is not clear if anyone would willingly enter. Few ever come down the path. Fewer still make it to its end. The large boulder has been here for centuries. It stares up at the sky, in amazement.
As you stoop to pick up fallen leaves are you cleaning spring, summer or autumn? What seasons are deep within the winter branch? How does your work and that of the tree truly differ, and what leaves do you shed?
A reflection on case 83 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)