Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nothing Whatever To Do

Dōgen’s Fukanzazengi (meditation instruction) says:
[Zazen] has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.
By that logic, the trees in the erstwhile Hayes Valley Farm are still doing zazen, even though they are now lying down, felled by saw and bulldozer late last week.  They have nothing to do but await their next existence – mulch for urban gardens.  Oh, happy thought, to know for certain that one’s purpose is to nourish!  No wonder they look so peaceful in their recumbent meditation. 

As Robert Aitken-roshi notes in his commentary on a life-and-death case in the Mumonkan:
“The test comes when everything starts to get dark, and you know it will not get light again.”

Is there anything more frightening than the prospect of unending darkness?  Well, yes:  Forgetting that we are the light. 

Wu-men concludes the case thusly:
“If you have not resolved this matter yet, the food you bolt down won’t sustain you.  Chew it well, and you won’t be hungry.”

The nourishment is only, and always, right here.

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