Stand on the hill
and look into the valley.
Stand in the valley
and look upon the hill.
Do you see yourself
in either place, do you
see yourself in both
or are they one place
hidden from your vision.
A reflection on case 86 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
Between now and eventually lies all of history. We are unable to see it
though it lies in our field of vision. That’s the problem, we only know
how to look backward. We are barely able to see where we are. It isn’t
that we don’t want to be here, merely that here is difficult to see, for
we have a tendency to block our vision. Imagine a map with an X or other
marker saying “You are Here.” Yet seeing that, we know we are not there, for
in that instant we will look down and see where we truly are. But the better
statement to the “you are here” sign is not to call it wrong, but rather
to simply ask it, how did you know. It will answer, your visit was history
lying between my now and my eventually.
Tonight a blood moon will rise.
This isn’t about lycanthropy
although the moon will have
the fullness that metamorphosis demands.
The sky will be clouded
the now crimson moon,
the planet that wears the palette
as its nature
will lurk out of sight
and we, lost in dreams,
will imagine what our eyes
are unable to see.
“And God said, “Let there be light,”
and there was light.
And God saw the light that it was good.” — B’Reshit (Genesis) 1:3-4
I mean God is omnipotent and omniscient,
so why create it if God had even
the slightest doubt that it was good,
and is God even capable of doubt.
But that isn’t really the point,
for now I sit knowing that I could,
one day, sooner or later, lose my vision,
that a darkness would descend upon me
and I don’t know for sure what God
would think of it, but I would
not find it the least bit good.
A rabbi might say that I should
not blame God, that God giveth
and taketh away, but I have a long
list of things I would gladly
have God take away without a whimper
from me, but light and sight
are nowhere on that list though faith
may end up somewhere in the middles.
We’ll just see how things go.
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 (The True Dharma Eye)
As you slowly approach it
it grows perceptibly larger.
This does not surprise you,
for you are familiar with
the principles of physics.
What does surprise you is
that the details grow
ever less clear as you approach,
as though they retreat
under your slow advance.
You think this strange,
wonder what has gone wrong,
question your eyes, and
finally realize that the details
you saw were not there
that it all was, quite simply, what
your mind wished your eyes to see.
There are moments
he said, when everything
is suddenly clear
and obvious to me.
But they slip away
and their shadows
quickly fade away.
She said if you stop
looking for the fog
the clarity might linger
besides, how do you
know what is clear
and what is not.