I don’t know why my mother gave me up at birth or how many cousins walk the streets of Lisbon or where I lost my first tooth I don’t know what became of the nickel or why the tooth fairy was so tight or who will wash the blood from the streets of Basra I don’t know how my Walkman eats batteries like Hostess Twinkies or why fungus grows underground or why the Somali child stares through starving eyes I don’t know why my dough rises, only to fall mockingly, or why forced to eat matzoh, the Jews didn’t go back to Egypt or why I poke my sore knee to insure it hurts
I don’t know my birthright name.
First Appeared in Children, Churches and Daddies, Vol. 141, October 2004.
Before life there is death, before death there is life. In life there is death, in death there is life, a worm cut in two, each half moves, in each a new worm or is there one worm. This I ask you, but answer or no answer both are full of Buddha nature.
A reflection on Case 20 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
I think therefore I am. I think therefore you are. You think therefore I am. If either of us stops thinking, does the other cease to be? If I see you as Buddha you are Buddha. If you see me as Buddha I can be Buddha, but if I see myself as Buddha Buddha and I are mountains and rivers apart.
A reflection on Case 86 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
If you go walking one day and meet a person you think may be the Buddha, ask him what is the heart of all of the sutras. If he answers you with Dharma will you be certain this person is not the Buddha? If, on the other hand, he says nothing at all, and merely holds up a mirror, will you be certain you are seeing the Buddha? Decide before he crosses the river and is gone from sight.
A reflection on Case 1 of Bring Me the Rhinoceros (Koans)