If you are able to speak maintain silence, If you can bear the silence, listen to the song the sea sings. If you can sing with the sea count the grains of sand that wash in on the next wave. If you lose count, begin again before the wave recedes. If the wave recedes before you finish counting, bid it farewell. After you bid farewell return to your cushion and listen to the silence which is the body of the dharma.
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.
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)
If you wish to find the Way follow the signs that read “This Is Not the Path” or at least some of them. If you ask me directions I will hand you a blank sheet and ask you what does it contain. You may say it is void and you would be correct, or you may say it is a thousand dharma texts and you would be correct.
A reflection on Case 48 of The True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo)
He sits, suited in black, with 88 keys at his command, and we fall silent. He opens the lock of joy, the lock of sadness, the lock of elation, the lock of tears, the lock of laughter, the lock of darkness, the lock of light, the lock of surprise, the lock of compassion, the lock of love, and we peer through each door, unable to enter fully unable to turn away. As we walk out, we know we have tasted Buddha’s promise truth and we go off in search of the 63,999 remaining Dharma doors.