Having reached the end of the first volume of the Shobogenzo, I thought I would take a little break and read something else. There was something particular I have been wanting to read as well, Talks on Yoka Daishi's "Song of Realization" by Sekkei Harada Roshi. I have been interested in Yoka Daishi, or Yongjia, since I first started reading about Buddhism, and particularly his famous exchange with Daikan Eno, or Hui-neng, which I first encountered in this book, where many koan stories are brought to life.
Over the years, I have noticed that nobody here ever talks about the Shodoka, or the Song of Realization, so when I found references to it in Deshimaru's writings, or Nyogen Senzaki's, I was always curious to find out more. I even offered a class on it at Tassajara one summer, when students are given the opportunity to do such a thing, compensating for my lack of understanding with my enthusiasm for the subject. None of the translations I have found have completely satisfied, but this one and this one are the most popular.
I had never heard of Sekkei Harada's commentary on the work, but discovered this small anonymous-looking booklet in Jerome's effects, and asked if I could read it. I have enjoyed reading The Essence of Zen several times, as well as having attended study classes on it with Daigaku, who speaks of his master in the highest terms, and right off the bat, these teishos are deeply inspiring:
"Of the religions of the world we can say that many or even most are comprised of seams or knots which connect the separation between Man and God, Man and Buddha or between Man and Nature. In truth there is no such borderline, and I would like you to realize that there is no reason such a division should exist. The ego/self has created distance between self and other things and then purposely joined them together again. Consequently if the ego/self is forgotten, one becomes the origin, becomes all things. This is an unmistakable fact".