Bodhi (zenbodhi) wrote,

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Another return to the place of Zen...

It's been a long time since I wrote any of my thoughts on zen poetry, so without any further preamble, I give you Cuddly Panda Bear Zen™.

South and north, sharing
A single mountain gate,
Above and below, two temples
Both named T’ien-chu.
Dwelling therein is
An old dharma master,
Built tall and skinny
Like a stork or swan.
I do not know what
Practice he engages in,
But his green eyes
Reflect the mountain valleys.
Just looking into them
Makes one feel fresh and pure,
As if all one’s baneful vexations had been cleansed.

- Su Shih (1073)

South and north, above and below. These are opposites, are they not? Yet, they share a single mountain gate and the name of a temple. T'ien-chu has connections to the Jade Emperor, the most important Chinese deity. There is a connection to all things under Heaven and on earth. There is unity, balance, yin and yang. Su Shih is drawing in the entire universe in a few simple lines and showing unity and opposition. Dwelling in T'ien-chu is an old dharma master, one who understands the correct workings of the natural world. Su Shih goes on to describe the dharma master, and admits that he doesn't understand this bird-like figure, but what's important; what draws the whole imagery together is what he writes of this dharma master's eyes. Just looking into them makes one feel fresh and pure, as if all one's baneful vexations have been cleansed.

We all have things that make us feel alive. That make us feel like we're more complete. Like we're better people. Like everything will be all right. For some, it's a person. For others, a song. Others still, it's an environment. We seek comfort and absolution in these things, and to truly experience that which we so desire and need, we need to first seek our own personal dharma - that which pertains to the whole of our existence, our own yin and yang. I know how to find mine and bring it to the forefront of my consciousness and regain my equilibrium. I wish it was that simple for everyone, but it's not. Maybe it's time to reach out for that restorative method. After all, it doesn't diminish with use, so it's not as if you're saving it by using it sparingly. Use it now.
Tags: zen
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