If you very much want something
you must ask for it clearly, but
if you ask for it, it will be denied to you.
If you do not ask for it, you
may be certain you will not get it
no matter how much you want it.
If you sit and think about this,
you will miss out on living.
It is only when you don’t want it,
when you allow the silence without
question, without need or desire,
that you will discover that you
have had it all along, right beside you.
Today I will hope to master,
if only for a brief moment, not
not being attached to thoughts,
but recognizing them and letting them pass,
since the thought of recognition must
replace the thought that was recognized,
not trying for anything on the cushion
including not trying to not try
for anything for that is the only way
that you can find nothing, which
is what you were trying for in the first place,
not putting into words concepts
which must by their nature defy language
but rather assuming the position
and just let things
Standing at the foot
of the mountain
what side do you see.
Standing atop the mountain
what side to you not see.
Close your eyes
and you will see
has no sides.
Close your eyes
and you will find
there is no mountain.
A reflection on case 36 of the Dogen’s Shobogenzo
It is a burden he does
not want to bear any longer,
one he would shed in a moment,
but there is no place to put it
and you cannot just leave it anywhere.
And so he continues to bear it
dragging it here, carrying it there,
always attached to it, and it to him.
He knows there are others
who bear far heavier burdens,
some with a smile, others begrudgingly.
He would gladly take up
their burdens, if he could only
be relieved of his, but he
cannot find anyone to take his,
and so he smiles and goes on,
for everyone wants something
and he has only nothing to offer
although that is the greatest gift,
for it is the gift of Buddha.
A reflection on Shūmon kattōshū Case 6 – Zhaozhou’s “Drop It”