You can take my sight, but my mind will still see what it must, and my fingers will become eyes. You can take my hearing, I will imagine what I must, and my eyes will become ears. You can take my tongue, but my body will shout what I must, and my hands will speak volumes. The only thing you cannot take is my words, for without them my prison would be complete and I would be rendered mute, deaf and blind, and that is a fate from which I could never hope to emerge.
I’ve always imagined that one of these nights I’d see my mother’s ghost. I would welcome the sight welcome she that bore me, not she that stepped in in a way,absolving my birth mother of her sin, while assuming adopting me would make her complete.
She hasn’t visited yet, neither has done so, but I hold out hope, it is after all the last to go, and I do hear her voice, faint and all too distant, sounding very much like my own one instant and then no more than a faint whisper in retreat.
I don’t need a long conversation, a few words would more than suffice, but some at least, a child should in advancing age hear the sound of a mother’s voice, if only to find solace in the fact that her choice to yield the child was made from love not defeat.
If Joshu asks you which is the true eye will you climb to the top of the mountain in search for it? There are a thousand mountains where Manjushri may dwell staring out at the world— how will you know which one? A cloud may reflect your sight simplifying all.
It is of little surprise that we find this a dizzying world, for we always try to look forward, but since the future is often vague, we try and keep one eye on the past to understand what our other eye is poorly seeing.
The mind does not care to be pulled in two directions at once, objects with stabbing pains, and when that fails to correct us, a weariness we cannot overcome.
The Buddha would tell you it is best to keep both eyes in the present, to focus softly and see what is there without judgement or preconception, to simply
be, assured that all senses are merely crude tools to shape what is amorphous into something we can grasp and file, but time itself knows there is nothing more than now, ever.
The sun has slipped back into its familiar failure mode lighting the sky, seeming to set the trees aflame, but offering precious little warmth. It is just practice for the season we all know is lurking just beyond the horizon, beyond our too short sight. We hope not to be here to greet it, having fled south, escaped to a place where the sun maintains purpose, where it says lakes and ponds ablaze and we shield our eyes from its intense, overpowering presence.
The river that I imagined, a torrent of words and images is little more than a dry trickle, construction cranes along one shore hauling away half- and ill-formed thoughts, leaving only desire and frustration as a marker of what might have been. I looked at each bend, hidden from sight as harboring that epiphany that I promised myself, and not further evidence of my own delusion. We will make port this afternoon Where I can, at last, offload my frustration and these shards of a fantasy now gone to dust.
He’s heard the expression “the silence is deafening” and he could never understand it. Today they studied his eyes, he staring into the the equipment, lights changing and flashing, they sitting, repeating “Blink.” Soon he understood what it was. to be “blinded by the light”, and while he waited for his eyes to undilate, he imagined blindness, and understood for the first time in is life how a deaf person might crave noise of any sort.
If you go walking one day and meet a person you think may be the Buddha, ask him what is the heart of all of the sutras. If he answers you with Dharma will you be certain this person is not the Buddha? If, on the other hand, he says nothing at all, and merely holds up a mirror, will you be certain you are seeing the Buddha? Decide before he crosses the river and is gone from sight.
A reflection on Case 1 of Bring Me the Rhinoceros (Koans)