Do not pity the blind man for he can see much, and do not be sad for the deaf for they can hear you. Your eyes see nothing your ears do not discern the quietest sound. Rest your mind and taste the peace of blindness and silence.
A reflection on Case 113 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye) Koans
When the master takes his seat what do you expect of him? Do you watch his posture or how his hands are set. Do you stare at his lips and what do you hear when they move, but no sound comes from his throat. Listen carefully, for here the dharma unfolds like the first chrysanthemum.
A reflection on Case 79 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
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.
In setting along the path do you follow Hofuku covering your eyes so as not to see evil, ears so as not to hear it and close your mind to wandering ideas or is Jizo’s path yours as well?
With eyes shut tight the mind will still see, with ears covered sound will echo, growing louder with no hope of escape. With open eyes light is reflected, with ears open fully, sound passes freely and flitters away and the empty bowl is filled with potential.
It is all to often debated what sets humans apart the other species, and that will not be agreed any time soon (which a cynic would note is one such thing itself).
Freud would claim it is only our ego, our sense of self, which may explain why people are so capable of being self- ish, and I suspect he was certain he was wholly correct but I would give him only partial credit.
It is far simpler than that: record your voice, record a Sandhill crane and play them back and I assure you that you will say you sound nothing like what the recorder heard while the crane will nervously look all around for his unseen kin.
There is probably much that could be said, a bit less that should be said, but I I’m not the person to say it, and remain silent. You are surprised by the silence — it is not what you expect of me, and that you find disconcerting and a bit unnerving. If I asked you what you would have me say, I doubt you could find anything in particular. It is more the sound of my voice you expect, not the words I choose to utter or retain. It all comes down to words, doesn’t it? And yet they fail us with such regularity, we each must wonder why we speak at all.
archetypes symbols arrayed arranged precise meanings elusive multiplicative hearer dependent no Carrollean wishes fortresses erected below the tide line await waves minor etchings Durer or trivial seen or ignored Lot cast either diamond or salt pillar eroded by rain adrift torn by tongues cast to ash.
First appeared in Eureka Literary Magazine Vol. 5, No. 2 (1997)
You must pause and marvel, if you will, that only the flute – from the simple wooden to the most elegant metal – when played by skilled hands, can transport the listener. Some would say to heaven, others to hell, and often at exactly the same moment.