TE SHAN CARRYING HIS BUNDLE

Enter the room slowly and look carefully,
since you are here to find something.
There is much within this room, but you
can see nothing save the old man,
sitting calmly, staring at nothing, staring
through you at nothing in particular.
You know he is the teacher, the one
for whom you have been searching,
Still, he ignores you, staring at nothing.
You walk around the room, from end
to end to end to end and he does
not move or speak, and so you leave.

He has given a great lesson, do you
appreciate what he has taught you?
You walk away angrily, say that he
is no teacher at all, that you are no
closer to enlightenment leaving
than when you entered, for you
found nothing but yourself.
As you leave the old man bows
as teachers do to Buddhas.

A reflection on Case 4 of the Hekiganroku {BLue Cliff Record)

THE LIST

I am compiling a list, ever so slowly,
of places I still want to visit,
and you may be surprised to find
that Paris, London and Madrid
are nowhere to be found.

It isn’t that they lack beauty, charm
and countless things to see and do,
it is simply that they have been usurped
by other places commanding my attention.

I’ve been to Zeeb and Pawpaw, if
driving by on the interstate counts,
and I am certain in Michigan it must,
but I do need a good laugh at times,
and Yeehaw Junction just might
satisfy my need perfectly, and, failing
that, there is always Surprise and Carefree,
and if I want to lose myself for a while
Nowhere is waiting patiently for me,
although I have heard it’s a bit hard to find.

No, what I really need is Happy Corner,
and from there, as I age I know I must
eventually, end up in Truth or Consequences.

MINISTER PEIXIU SEES A PORTRAIT

You are perpetually searching,
but what is it you seek?
If you say it is wisdom,
how will you know it
if it finds you?
You may look
in a thousand mirrors
and no mind
will be seen
in none of them.
You are an oyster,
where is the pearl?


A reflection on Case 9 of the Shobogenzo, the True Dharma Eye