If you must follow the Way, you may read the Dharma for hours on end or you may brew a pot of tea for your teacher, or bring your student a towel and basin. Which two steps along the way will you take?
A reflection on Case 61 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
There is nothing like, no words to adequately describe, that moment when a cloud- hazed sun lingers wishfully just above the horizon, grasping the sky with brilliant talons of light, fearing becoming lost in a darkness that will, on this night of the new moon, engulf us all in its inky shroud.
We know, or pray, the sun will return in hours, just as the sun knows its work is never done so long as it has light to give, hoping that final collapse is eons away.
As it finally settles beyond sight, we smile, retreat to the table and consume our dinner and wine, our daily companion forgotten until its dawning return.
You ask me to define what family is and I tell you that I may be the last person you want answering that question, I an adoptee who felt like an orphan supplanted by siblings who knew her womb.
But I do have an answer, family is that insane person who will drive six hours to spend an hour with you, family is the joy and aching of your heart as they leave, a bit of themselves remaining deeply within your soul.
He can spend hours on the wooden bench in the small square in the center of the village. There he is but a statue, staring up at the giant clock face that looms over the square from the turret of the Village Hall. He likes to watch the long hand, arrowlike, make its slow, but inevitable movement, circling the blank outward gaze of the numerals. He does not care much for time, has too much of it some say, too little left, he knows. But here, as he stares fixedly, it stops. There is no motion in that instant, there is only the instant of time. It is no longer real, it is a thought lost or forgotten, and there is only the single moment in which he sits on the wooden bench in the center of the village.