When a leaf leaves the tree it falls precisely where it should. When a flower petal is carried off on a strong wind it comes to rest in the proper place. When you smell the sweet aroma of next summer’s roses use the nose you had before your parents were born.
A reflection on case 32 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye) Koans
Spring has arrived, however begrudgingly, and the young woman pushes the older woman’s wheelchair along the paths of the great park. Neither speaks, but each knows this could be the last time they do this. That shared knowledge paints each flower in a more vibrant hue, each fallen petal is quickly but individually mourned for, its beauty draining back into the soil. The older woman struggles hard to fully capture each view for she knows that it is possible that it will have to last her an eternity.
We love the flower, more so if it adopts the brighter shades of nature’s palette, and even tolerate the fern, but only if it truly honors the greens it is supposed to bear and unfurl. We save our spite for the fungus which reaches up to us with surprising haste, nothing this day, fully formed tomorrow as if to suggest a resurrection from something dark and dank hidden below the surface. Still, we turn our back on it, wish it gone, find it ugly and never pause to wonder how it views us in the early light of morning.
How far must you wander to taste the pure essence, hear the pure note, see deeply into beauty, smell the first flower of spring, touch another heart? Will you grow tired from standing still in total silence contemplating this?
A reflection on Shobogenzo Case 65 (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)