FROM HERE TO

 

He finds it hard to believe
that no matter which path
he chooses, and he has chosen
so very, very many over time,
each path seems always
to lead him to one particular place.
The place always seems the same,
here, though he knows it should
be different each time he arrives.
It frustrates him no end, but
he is growing concerned
that one day a path will
lead him to somewhere
that is not here, and he will
have utterly no idea
where to go from there.

TEACHING AND NOT TEACHING

When you find a teacher
what is it you expect from him?
Do you walk carefully in his footsteps
insuring you do not stray an inch
from the path on which he leads you?

A true teacher will ask
that you turn away from him
and give you a shove
that has you stumbling forward
struggling to regain your footing,
finally aware of the path
that you have always been on
and never bothered to see.


A reflection on Case 92 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)

SOZAN’S FOUR DON’TS 鐵笛倒吹 九十二

You may seek to follow
the path of the dove –
a fool knows many roads.
You may wrap yourself
in fine linen – an infant
wears only his skin,
and knows this moment
is already gone.

Think long before you speak
of how to walk
along the path, of where it leads.
The baby says nothing,
will not speak
of where he has been,
where he is going, for him
there is only here,
and silence
is descriptive enough.


A reflection on case 92 of the Iron Flute. 

JOSHU’S FOUR GATES 正法眼蔵 四十六

If you ask me who I am,
I will have you close your eyes
and walk behind you,
or I may step to your left
and take your right hand.
If you are perplexed,
I will ask you: do the four
gates open into the city
or out to the world beyond,
and if I stand still under a gate
in which direction
am I headed?


A reflection on Case 46 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)

FINDING A DIAMOND 沙石集 二

There are endless paths
on which to walk,
yet we find one
and remain on it
even when it
becomes rocky and rutted.

We do not see the road,
nor those who cross it,
watching only our feet.
It is only when we step
off of the cliff
that our feet are free
to walk other paths,
perhaps in the footsteps
of old Gudo.


A reflection on Case 2 of the Shaseki-Shu (Sand and Pebbles)