It is one thing to be short,
quite another to be too short,
just as it is one thing to be tall,
another thing to be too tall.
It is a separate thing determining
where the border of “too”
should be drawn for any dimension.
I am short, but I will never
be too short, and never too tall.
Some believe faith is a dimension,
and you can be Jewish or too Jewish,
Christian or too Christian, but I
am Buddhist which cannot be a faith
for you simply cannot be too Buddhist.
He appeared rather suddenly,
and didn’t seem to stay very long.
Some claimed they knew he was coming,
most never saw him arrive,
although some said they saw him clearly,
that he visited frequently, that
they knew his presence unquestionably
and spoke to him at some length.
She knew there was much wishful thinking
and a dearth of reality, but she
had come to accept that they got
what they seemed so badly to need
at no cost to her or any others.
But her daughter, seeing all this,
could only laugh, for though she might
be young, she knew he didn’t appear,
he was always there, they just wouldn’t
close their eyes and see
what every child did.
The young man asked the old Buddhist monk,
“If there are 64,000 gates, how will
I know through which I should enter.”
The monk paused, considered
the question, then smiled broadly.
“Why would you want to enter any gate?”
the monk said with a wink.
The young man replied, “because they
are the gates that lead to the dharma,
and that will lead to enlightenment,
so of course I want to enter the right one!”
“That is your mistake,” the monk
gently added, for there is no right gate,
they are all right gates, but your problem
is you want to go in through the gate,
but you must go out from where you are,
for that is how you enter the dharma.”
It seems odd now, that he is here,
a place he never intended to be,
as it was a place he could not imagine,
yet he most certainly was here.
If you asked him why he was here,
he would answer that he had to be
somewhere, and here is where it was,
just as your being here is just
as it had to be, for you are here.
He points to a sign over his palette bed,
which simply reads “You Are Here,”
and says, I take it everywhere I go
and it has never been wrong yet.
The bell rings for the evening zazen
and as he assumes his place on the mat,
the Buddha seems to smile and say
to us both, You are where you should be.
He wasn’t sure he wanted it,
was fairly certain he did not,
and in that moment, was certain
he would get it, so he began
developing elaborate plans
on what to do with it when it arrived.
He laid them out in painful detail,
each step, each move
He waited patiently, each minute
washing into the next until
it was hours, then days, then months.
He reassessed his plans for it,
fine tuned them daily.
He grew older until one day
he could no longer remember
what it was, and moments
later it arrived, and there it sat
unseen and unrecognized.
The epiphany comes,
he says with a smile,
when you first discover
the puzzle within the puzzle
and the hidden logic
finally triumphs. It is
always there, she notes,
right in the title
as clear to the eyes
as the nose
on the face of
who has no mirrors.
Is it the trip
or the arriving
that most matters,
or is it simply what
you expect once you
are there, if there
is where you expected,
for expectations are too
often misplaced and assumptions
reflect desire not truth.
In the end it hardly matters,
for you can never be
anywhere but where
you happen to find yourself.