Rainy Tuesday. Did some writing on something I’m working on and had to clarify a memory for myself and realized, one more time the depth of the teachings which I try to take to heart. A friend sent a text with a photo of a page from one of our scriptures, a writing by Zen Master Dogen, founder of the Soto Zen sect in Japan in the early 13th century.
“Time flies quicker than an arrow and life passes with greater transience than the dew. However skillful you may be, how can you ever recall a single day of the past? Should you live for a hundred years just wasting your time, every day and month will be filled with sorrow; should you drift as the slave of your senses for a hundred years and yet live truly for so much as a single day, you will, in that one day, not only live a hundred years of life but also save a hundred years of your future life. The life of this one day, to-day, is absolutely vital life; your body is deeply significant. Both your life and your body deserve love and respect for it is by their agency that Truth is practiced and the Buddha’s power exhibited: the seed of all Buddhist activity, and of all Buddhahood, is the true practice of Preceptual Truth.”
She was on her way to work and was struck by that passage in her morning reading and shared it with me.
I try to keep that thought in my heart all the time. I also engage in a recovery program that helped start my journey in Buddhist training 32 years ago, and one of its slogans is one-day-at-a-time. Today this is one of the deepest spiritual principles (and very practical too), I know. So every day when I set forth on whatever I have to do outside of my residence and living space, I say goodby to it, because I realize that the sunrise does not guarantee the sunset. I may never return.
I feel a freedom in that activity because it connects me to the reality of life itself. We are astoundingly vulnerable creatures; another creature (microbes), we cannot see without a microscope, can kill us, and, they do kill all of us eventually.
We call it dying, they see it as continuing their lives.
Of course they will then cede the territory they have inhabited to other small creatures who will feed on our bodies (and theirs), in various ways and the circle does indeed remain unbroken. The understanding and acceptance of this basic fact ( Which is very difficult to do, especially in our modern mighty-medicine-can-conquer-all, times), is very freeing.
The leaves have fallen. Let the raking begin. Don’t discard the leaves. They are food for the trees growth in the next new cycle.
Every moment is significant.
The only ones we waste are the ones we haven’t learned from. We can still learn from the ones we may have wasted in the past. It is never too late.
Until, of course, it’s too late…