SETTLING

The old, weathered maple
leans into the sun, its trunk
stroking the cobbled cottage
which sits against the foothill.
The square window peers out
over a wildflower garden
as the roof’s peakline
settles comfortably
into old age.
Walking around it I see
the back roof has collapsed
the back wall ever threatening
to return to the earth
of its mountain home.

CUSHION

He sits on the cushion
staring through hooded eyes
at the wall in front of him.
He expects exactly nothing to happen,
expects there to be no sound
within his mind, only what
happens without, expects that time
will cease for him, or
will at least cease to matter.
He is not disappointed.
The bell rings, he arises,
and walks back into the world
where everything happens,
there is only sound, and
he stares at his watch knowing
time has moved on in ways
he can never hope to fully grasp.

THE WALL

No one is certain who
painted the words on the wall.
No one knew when the painting occurred,
someone noticed the words
one morning and told others,
and the word spread through town.
People stopped to look at the words,
but few understood what they meant.
Soon there were pictures drawn
around the words, familiar faces,
and people would stop, add words
until the wall was a mural
that could not be forgotten,
only ignored by those
who simply wouldn’t understand.

I will, or may
see something today
that may surprise me.
It may reveal itself
in aquiet moment,
it may be nothing more
than a fleeting thought
or an image, I am certain.
It won’t be brought by Magi
nor even magic, though
on reflection, it may
seem somehow magical.
I suspect
most will miss
its occurrence.

So I will sit
and stare into the wall,
into my heart,
into the universe,
trying to find
something which
is nothing, which
is the center,
which is everything.

PACIFYING THE MIND OF THE SECOND PATRIARCH

Sitting on the cushion
staring at the wall yet again,
the wall seems familiar, as if you
should know it, the paint, the fleck
of something embedded in the paint.
Still you search for something beyond
the wall, hidden by the paint,
but you find nothing, always nothing.
Does this nothing finding frustrate you?
Are you certain there is something
there to be found, eluding you?
Be like Huike, for if you cannot
see the wall, cannot find the paint,
the universe that lies behind it
will be exposed to your view.
Simply close your eyes and see it.


A reflection on Case 1 of the Shumon Kattoshu