If you meet the Bodhisattva you don’t ask someone to carve the image from your mind. To the carver, she weighs but an ounce and can be carried on his fingertip but try and lift her and you will not be able to move her from her place.
All Buddhas are one Buddha but his Buddha will never be your Buddha.
He could not hope to remember how he got there, he had wandered in search of nothing in particular, save dinner as his hunger grew, but in Shinjuku you needn’t read Japanese since the menus sat molded in plastic in the window of even the smallest restaurants. He began to look more intently when he saw the path off the street, a calico cat beckoning him, so he entered, knew instantly he was at a small Buddhist temple, and bowed to the statue of Kannon hidden amid the flock of cranes. He felt the touch of the young monk, followed him into the small zendo, sat seiza at the monk’s nodding, and as evening washed over them both, time and hunger ceased to matter. Interminably later, over a cup of tea, the monk said in broken English, “you carry me with you to home place,” pointing to his heart, “and I keep you in Japan,” repeating the gesture, and as he regained his bearings, saw the Metropolitan Center which was his pole star for the hotel he walked lightly back, forgetting he hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
Walking the grounds
of Senso-ji Temple, I look among the statues, half expecting Buddha or
Kannon Bosatsu to appear, but only a pigeon answers my expectations. Lighting a joss bundle and placing it into the burner I imagine for a moment that I am zainichi, but the giggles of a flock of uniformed schoolgirls reminds me cruelly I am and always will be
no more than gaijin.
Kannon, have compassion for us, as if you could do otherwise. We don’t seek wisdom, that’s out of your department. We all seek enlightenment as if it is some neon sign around the next bend in the path. We are well-suited for rushing to unknown destinations. We would offer you prayers, but we have forgotten the words.