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.
A single snowy egret sits on the lowest branch of a long barren tree, where hours from now a thousand birds will arrive for still another evening and night.
He stares at me as I am mindfully vacuuming, watching carefully.
I pause and ask if by chance he is a Buddha and he lifts his long neck and peers around in all directions.
I repeat my question, and he lifts one wing, which I know to be his way of saying, “I, like you, am imbued with Buddha nature, and I with mother nature as well, and if you doubt me ask one of the countless Bodhisattvas who will arrive in hours to study the Dharma well into what will be a wet night.
If someone has much, give him little, if someone has little, give him much. If you have much, give much, but if you have little, give only little. Little and much are both the same when given and received.
A reflection on Case 56 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)
You may come asking questions, and perhaps the teacher will answer you with a discourse. If you go deaf and hear nothing, if the words flit like so many mayflies just as soon gone, if no word finds purchase you will have a grasp the heart of the Dharma.
A reflection on Case 54 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)
The greatest speech is given only when the mouth falls shut. To talk of peace is to be at war with peace, to speak of war is to be at war. When listening disappears peace reemerges, when peace emerges the listener appears.
A reflection on Case 12 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)
They arrive unannounced often not seen until they have been among us and won’t say how or when they arrived. Some claim to have seen their arrival as they have seen other visitors visible only to them, and predict their departure with a certainty born of a delusion or a sense beyond the understanding. Others say that the are merely us in masquerade, it is we who are deluded for there is no arrival by an ongoing presence. I say nothing, for I am one of them, just as I am one of us, I am recently arrived, while I have long been here and either you or I may or may not be deluded.