SEPPO’S TURNING THE WHEEL

The wisest of men
when asked at what time
it is best to pursue the Way
will answer when a thousand stars
have made their presence known.
The wisest student will say
when cleaning myself
by bathing in the mud.
This will become clear
when the frog
consumes the dragon.


A reflection on Case 38 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo

ARF

Sitting on the fourth shelf
from the top, in the second rank
of bookcases in my office
is a somewhat worn copy
Dylan Thomas is “Portrait
of the Artist as a Young Dog.”
I can’t admit to ever having read it,
or an ability to now recall if I did,
but I know I’ve had several young dogs
in my 66 years, but none
were particularly artistic;
but perhaps I set too high a standard
as they did seem to treat
the white tiles in the foyer
of my parents suburban home
as a canvas on rainy spring days,
very much to my mother’s dismay.

SEPPO’S TURNING THE WHEEL 正法眼蔵 三十八

The wisest of men
when asked “at what time
it is best to pursue the Way,”
will answer when a thousand stars
have made their presence known.
The wisest student will say
“when cleaning myself
by bathing in the mud.”
This will become clear
when the frog
consumes the dragon.


A reflection on Case 38 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye)

AN OX GOES THROUGH A LATTICE WINDOW

If you see an animal
sitting neck-deep in the mud
do you wonder how lucky it is
that, having fallen in,
its head has not been swallowed?
Or do you consider that it
stuck its head out of the mud
to gaze into the sky?
When you are immersed in dharma
do you hold back your mind,
clinging to worldly thoughts?
Tell me, are you emerging from the dharma
or are you slowly allowing yourself
to sink into it fully in this moment.
Look carefully through the lattice
window of thought and decide
which is inside, which is out.


A reflection on Case 16 of the Shumon Kattoshu (“Entangling Vines”)