The old bus shelter has spray painted walls and a broken metal bench. Each morning he shuffles up the hill, a battered leatherette briefcase clutched tightly in his right hand, a copy of the Seattle Times “Nixon in China” in the other. He sits calmly on the bench case between his knees and waits patiently for the bus that hasn’t run this route for the better part of sixteen years. Still, he waits until the sun sinks behind the 7-Eleven, when he shuffles down the hill toward his small apartment satisfied with another day successfully done.
Somewhere in here there is a hidden irony, not irony really, but a close enough approximation. We are creatures of softness, we relish textures that yield to our touch, would rather be swaddled than armored, vastly prefer the kitten or puppy to the armadillo or porcupine. It’s all about softness really. And despite this primal desire for pillows and down filled duvets, when it comes to measuring value we’re all about corners and hardness, about solidifying our financial position. And while we crave bills and coins, our ultimate measure of success are those crystals formed over eons, made hard by pressure and time, for those are the jewels of our existence.
If you are truly looking for the way why do you insist on using your eyes. Any teacher will tell you that your eyes see nothing, they are only lenses through which a delusion is created in the mind. The mind has no eyes, but it is all that enables you to see anything. So abandon the eyes that see nothing, and the mind that only thinks it sees. Settle on the cushion until you and the earth and the sky are one, indistinguishable from each other, and everything, which is nothing, will appear before you if only you refuse to acknowledge it.
A reflection on Case 4 of the Bring Me the Rhinoceros koans.
When you sit before the master he will ask you a question. Consider your answer carefully then offer it to the master. He will simply say, “correct.” Later, when you sit before the master he will ask you the same question. Offer your answer to the master. He will simply say “incorrect.” If you ask him how your answer can be both correct and incorrect, the master will look through you, and simply smile and say “Correct”.
A reflection on case 31 of the Blue Cliff Record koans.
In the elemental scheme of things we humans are, at best, middling. We are minute in the scale of the universe, our time not even a glimmer, and as we age, time contracts, but only in the shortening forward direction. But pity the poor hydrogen-7 isotope whose life is likely over in 30 yactoseconds, absorbing the laughter of helium-5 living on average, 33 times longer, and both jealously, if ever so quickly regarding our seemingly infinite span. But lest we get complacent, there is always zirconium-96 for whom our life is but the blink of an eye, barely worth noting, a second at most in a span that could reach twenty quintillion years, so we are nothing special, save in our own eyes.