They sat on the bench in the park
looking out on the small lake,
two ducks swimming slowly in circles.
“Dawn is the most beautiful moment
of the day, the sun chasing the moon
and setting the sky ablaze,
orange, crimson, flame, there
is simply nothing,” he said,
“in the world quite like it.”
“It is that, but it pales compared
to the beauty of dusk
and the setting sun retreating,
the clouds painted by the master
in orchid, fuchsia, and a depth
of pink only the sun and clouds know,”
she replied, “and each day is different.
An old monk walking by bowed,
nodded and softly said, “but look
to the sky on a cloudless night,
see the moon reflect all the sun
has to offer, all the colors
in the spectrum are there if you
only close your eyes and see them.”
It seems odd now, that he is here,
a place he never intended to be,
as it was a place he could not imagine,
yet he most certainly was here.
If you asked him why he was here,
he would answer that he had to be
somewhere, and here is where it was,
just as your being here is just
as it had to be, for you are here.
He points to a sign over his palette bed,
which simply reads “You Are Here,”
and says, I take it everywhere I go
and it has never been wrong yet.
The bell rings for the evening zazen
and as he assumes his place on the mat,
the Buddha seems to smile and say
to us both, You are where you should be.
There will come a time
she says, when all of this
will matter greatly, the question
is how you will know
that moment has arrived.
I assume, he said, it will
announce itself, or at least
make its presence known.
No doubt, she replied, you
will search for it, but
just like me, you
will find it gone.
If the time is now
how will we know it.
And if we miss it
how will we know
what the consequences are?
The better question
is whether it matters
for if we can be
in each moment
to the extent possible
then nothing is missed
and every moment is now
and there is never
a forgotten memory.
Is it the trip
or the arriving
that most matters,
or is it simply what
you expect once you
are there, if there
is where you expected,
for expectations are too
often misplaced and assumptions
reflect desire not truth.
In the end it hardly matters,
for you can never be
anywhere but where
you happen to find yourself.
If there is but a single moment
this one is not the one, and so
we shall each of us continue to wait
and wonder if the next one is the one,
or even the one after that, or one next week.
But the real question is, if there is such a moment,
whether we’ll know it before it’s gone.
When someone says you are
not looking at all well,
who is it that is ailing?
When that person says you
looked better the last time
he saw you, which you did he see?
If you look in the mirror
do you see someone looking ill,
and if you do, who is that person,
for you are the one looking
and not the one looked at.
A reflection on case 98 of the Hekiganroku, True Dharma Eye