When you come searching for a key to unlock the door to Nirvana I will ask you to complete a simple task. All you need to do is go to the ocean and select the one drop of water different from all of the others.
A reflection on Case 26 of the Book of Equanimity, 従容錄, Shōyōroku
When you are cleaning, what becomes of the dirt? When you are bathing, what becomes of the water? When you exhale, what becomes of the breath? When the moon disappears is the moon truly gone? When you ask your teacher, what becomes of the question? If you sit quietly on the mat and do not think of this, what becomes of you?
A reflection on Case 21 of the Book of Equanimity ( 従容錄, Shōyōroku)
Eat your vegetables, Don’t ever run with scissors, Clean your room, Always wear clean underwear, Comb your hair every morning, Always say please and thank you, Always listen to adults, they know more, Be nice to animals and small children, Clean your room, Don’t go in the water for an hour after eating, Polish your shoes, Don’t play with sticks, you could put an eye out, Clean your room, Clear the dishes off the table, Get plenty of sleep, Clean your room.
And despite so very often not listening mother, here I am still getting by in this world, although my room is still messy.
A desert again, always a desert and she the saint of uncounted names, her crying eases, no smile appears for this Madonna of the coyotes, her orange-orbed eyes shuttered against the slowly retreating sun. Once her tears watered the desert sands, mixed with the blood of a Christ now long forgotten, trans- substantiated into a spirit we formed in our image, no longer we in his. The Blessed Mother watches, holding hope, holding space, holding a serenity we cannot fathom in our search for divine justification. She remembers, she mourns, for what ought to be, and waits for the windwalkers to pull the blanket of stars over her.
If you go in search of Buddha should you see him, do not stop or speak but run away. If you do not see the Buddha run away from that place. If you stop, to take water from the edge of a still pond look carefully, for the Buddha is there just above the water’s surface.
A reflection on case 80 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
I remember the afternoon was cold and damp, with a persistent drizzle that escaped the clustered umbrellas, the sky a blanket slowly shedding the water that soaked it as it sat out on the clothesline.
I suspect you would have liked it this way, everyone in attendance, everyone shuffling their feet, wanting to look skyward, knowing they would see only a dome of black umbrella domes.
I recited the necessary prayers, kept a reasonable pacing despite the looks of many urging me to abridge the service, but the rain didn’t care about their wishes and I knew you wouldn’t so I carried on to the conclusion.
As they lowered your coffin into the puddled grave, I imagined you laughing, knowing in the end you had this day gotten the last one.
We sit around the small tables glad to be out of the sun whose midday glare seems to blind the drivers slowly approaching the Jetty Park lot.
A family chatters, the children laughing at nothing, at everything, and nearby a dog lays out dreaming of a good walk and dinner, hoping for scraps.
We can hear the water of the inlet, the waves breaking onto the beach, visuals left to our imaginations, but we are satisfied with that, and the fact that our tacos here are far more reasonable with the “without the view” discount.
The morning was indistinguishable from so many others. Lorenz was taking his morning walk around the pond or lake, it was of that intermediate size that could be either or neither, when in a break with his habit, he sat down on one of the four benches, and stared out over the water. He hadn’t seen the usual egrets or herons or ibis, which did strike him as a bit odd since they were as regular in attendance as he was. As he pondered their absence he was startled by what felt like a tickling on his arm. He looked down to find a Painted Lady butterfly perched on his forearm sitting placidly. He stared at what seemed to be the eyes on its wing staring at him. Neither moved, he for fear of dislodging his visitor, the butterfly for its own, undisclosed, unfathomable reasons. This mutual staring continued until time lost its shape, its defintion, and puddled at his feet, no longer mattering at all. But evenutally a breeze came up and it lifted from his arm, flitted about as if in some farewell and was off. He had no idea that moments later the tsunami warning sirens began up and down Fukushima Prefecture in Japan.