CHILD OF GHOSTS

I am a child of ghosts, my parents
adopted and birth, all visit me,
but only in my dreams, for ghosts
prefer the reality that dreams allow.
Some say that dreams are not real,
but they live in the mind as do
every other reality I experience
each day, my senses merely
inexact lenses for the mind.
Perhaps dreams are more accurate,
a deeper reality in the end,
for they arise without passing
through the lenses of the senses,
whole and complete, and as quickly gone.
I am a child of ghosts, and I
will eventually join them,
haunting the dreams of others.

UMMON’S FAMILY TRADITION 鐵笛倒吹 七十一

The greatest teacher
is one who offers nothing
and shouts it silently
once the student has departed.

You cannot know
what the blind man sees
for you cannot see
through his eyes
and the deaf woman
may hear a symphony
in a flower.

When asked what is
your practice
do you answer: life?


A reflection on case 71 of the Iron Flute Koans

THE THING OF IT

The thing he wants most
is to experience life and all it offers.
By that he means he wants to see
what is there, to smell it, to engage
it with all of his senses, for
those are what he trusts, they
provide him reality, without them
his mind could not frame the moment.
The thing she wants most
is to be in life, an integral
part of what is offered, to
be indistinguishable from life,
so that they eyes cannot see it,
the nose cannot smell it,
the mind cannot frame anything,
for she is that thing
and that moment and there is
nothing else, except perhaps him
staring, sniffing and cataloging
his own illusory world.

SCENE 1 (ACT 0)

First you should draw the scene
with as much detail as possible,
using the full palette of colors
and adding depth and dimension.
Next you should write the scene,
again with detail, color, depth,
for words are capable of all of this.
Now compare the scenes, are they
the same, and if not, how do they differ.
Now close your eyes and envision
the same scene again, noting
whatever you can, listening
to your mind’s description,
as you gaze through your mind’s eye.
Pause and consider that none of these
are real, each is an illusion
you have created, and then know
that you, too, like I,
am illusory as well.

TOKUSAN’S ASSEMBLY 正法眼蔵 三十六

When the Buddha offered
true wisdom, no one
was present to hear it.
Those who were not there
understood it fully.
Where will you look
for true wisdom?
Will your ears here
what your mouth cannot say?
Only with closed eyes
will the light become clear.


A reflection on Case 36 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye).

COGITO

The hardest thing
to remember is
to remember is to
program terminated
after infinite loop.
Forgetting is often easier,
or perhaps we only
think that is so
for once we
have forgotten something
we may recall
the act of forgetting
but never the thing
just forgotten.
The key is to be
selective in forgetting
for although remembering
is the sum of five senses,
forgetting is merely
the selective misapplication
of the inverse of that sum.
I know there was something else,
or maybe I just wish there was.

HARMONY

A young woman steps
from the shower and wraps
herself in a large blue towel.
“I don’t want you to see me,”
she says, to the young man
standing in the door of the small
bathroom, “look away for now.”
He reminds her they are married.
She says, “One thing has nothing
to do with the other, and
a husband must know his wife
by the contour of her chin,
the curve of her hip, the smell
of her slowly drying hair,
and the sound of her lips pursing.”
She says, “When you can do
all of this with your eyes closed,
what need is there for sight,
and if you cannot, you
could have a thousand eyes
and still be blind.”