Open to page 147 of your hymnals. There is nothing to sing there for the words of promise once found there have withered and faded, carried off on now toxic winds, so hold your breath or whatever heaven you imagine will be too soon be approaching at a speed exceeding imagination.
You don’t remember how you got here, things happened around you when you weren’t paying attention but, you say, what can you do about it, it’s not your problem so you are happy to let someone else deal with it, you are sure it will be dealt with if you stay out of the way, do nothing.
So while you are blindly waiting perhaps you can join the others just like you, in your final prayers.
When you are cleaning, what becomes of the dirt? When you are bathing, what becomes of the water? When you exhale, what becomes of the breath? When the moon disappears is the moon truly gone? When you ask your teacher, what becomes of the question? If you sit quietly on the mat and do not think of this, what becomes of you?
A reflection on Case 21 of the Book of Equanimity ( 従容錄, Shōyōroku)
Sitting in stillness, the silence is at first shocking, deafening in a way unimagined but there. Within the lack of sound lies a thousand sounds you never heard in the din of life. You hear the young monk at Senso-ji approach the great bell and pull back on the log shu-moku, straining. You hear the laugh of school aged children hand in hand walking through the Temple grounds as pigeons gather. You hear the cat, sitting at the foot of Daibutsudan, staring out and the deer waiting at the gate. You hear your breath and that of a million others as they sit on their cushions sharing what is.
I saw the sun rise this morning over Mt. Hood, the glow that announced to the horizon its approach. There should be in the life of every man, every woman, that moment when seeing dawn lift, peel back the shroud from Mt. Hood causes the sudden intake of just that much extra breath.
Do not ask me to recite the Dharma When I am breathing there is only breath in and breath out. Be like the poor man lost and wandering going nowhere, each breath the only breath. Having nothing, simply being.
A reflection on case 3 of the Book of Equanimity Koans
Today they gave a party. Today, so far, no one came. Today, so far and until some come, we will breath easier. Tomorrow they may give another party. We hope that no one comes. The same for Tuesday and Wednesday, although that was supposed to be our party, but we can no longer come, because they may come and we cannot be at any party they are attending. Maybe they won’t come either, and there will be no party at all.
Today’s prayer shall be recited in silence, total, not even the breath indicating a longing for action. Nor will it invoke a holy spirit without us for it is we who we must inveigh to attain the desired actions for which we seek holy intervention, casting off free will, an accrediting poor decisions, a goat where we seek escape and atonement for the sins of all the others. Today’s prayer shall not be recited at all, but it is this prayer in which we find absolution.