Raven 49: Zazen in the Forest

What do you hear? (And who is it that is hearing?) What do you see, feel, taste, touch, smell? That's reality. That's all you get -- and all you need. It's all zazen in the forest. What and where else could it be?

It had been stormy for several days, and the community did not meet. Finally, the winds calmed, the rains stopped, and the meetings resumed.
Owl obviously wanted to speak, so the others deferred.
"I've been told," she said, "that long ago, folks could devote themselves full-time to the practice, and enlightened masters emerged. Nowadays here in the forest, folks are so busy hunting and gleaning and protecting themselves that they have very little time for zazen. How can we hope to attain the level of realization the old masters attained?"
Raven said, "They saw plum blossoms; we hear the robin."
Owl said, "But it seems their very atmosphere was charged with realization. That's certainly not true for us today."
Raven said, "The robin just flew away."
Meetings get canceled.
Even when they don't,
Doings and sufferings --
For shelter, food, predator-dodging, etc. --
Fill the hours like sand,
Make me wonder when's enough time to become.
Silly, silly me.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon

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