She surely should have known better. Selling sea shells by the sea shore is a short sighted career path. Anyone can pick up the shells on the seashore, selling shells is simply silly, and she should see that. But each day she sets up her stand, sets out the shells, and sits waiting to see who will shop for her sea shells. No one does, of course, but she is certain she will sell some soon if only to sailors shortly setting sail. So sad, really, but she certainly does not seem to mind.
First of all, Jack, you were sent to the corner for a reason. That pie was for everyone, not just you, we have told you endlessly about how wrong selfishness is. You won’t listen. And how many times do we have to tell you to use a fork or a spoon. Not only did you ruin the pie, no one wants to eat what is left once you put your hand in it. And how are we supposed to get that stain off your white shirt? Good boy? Oh, no, anything but, so you are grounded for a week.
There was a time, still within memory’s ever more tenuous grasp that I imagined myself, at this age, as a monk in a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, that I had assumed a silence imposed by lack of language, not faith.
I am certain that the Japanese are pleased that I let that dream pass unfulfilled, that I confine my practice to that American form of Zen, softened and gently bleached from its shogun watered roots.
I recall my visits to Senso-ji, Todaii-ji and countless other small temples where I would often find a zafu and sit, but only the youngest monks I met could understand that it was there, among them, that I felt spiritually at home.
Wherever you stand still you can see the rainbow but walk to find its end this one or that one and it will be gone on your arrival. Sit in the fine mist and look at the earth – how many colors do you see?
A reflection on case 42 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
If you truly want to walk in the footsteps of the Buddha stand perfectly still and unmoving. If you truly want to comprehend the whole of the Dharma put down all of your books and scrolls, roll up your sleeves and plant the barren fields, clearing away rocks and stones. If you want to taste enlightenment dip your hands into a free running stream and drink of its waters. If you feel you must move along the Way, simply sit and allow the Way to move beneath you.
A reflection on Case 12 of The Book of Equanimity (SHôYôROKU)
If you sit patiently enough, and sit long enough, just perhaps the teacher will acknowledge you. If he holds out his arms and offers you the heart of the Dharma, will you grasp it and hold it closely? If you try and grasp it it will slip through your fingers, disappear from sight, lost forever. If you nod in appreciation, hands in gassho and simply bow, then turn and leave the room, you will carry it with you and no one will be able to take it from you although you are free to give it away.
A reflection on case 92 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record)