Saturday, August 13, 2011

It Matters Not

It Matters Not
by Scott Bradley


It matters not,
Your coming or your going,
Your seeking or your finding.
‘Return is the movement of the Tao’;
All things resolve to the Source.
What need then for striving or achieving?
— Chen Jen


All is well. It could not be otherwise. Come and go. Seek and find. Weep and laugh. Care and exercise compassion. Live your life. Be here now. Do and be all these things always in the awareness that all is well. That in all your achieving, nothing need be achieved. That your every attainment already is. That, in the end, nothing is lost. All is well.

I was reminded of this 'Saying' this morning while reading A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and Zen (Robert Aitken). He makes mention, while discussing a haiku I shall shortly share, of a phrase in the "Song of Zazen" which some Zen practioners recite: "Going and coming, never astray."

And his point is precisely this, that all is well. He then quotes Hakuin: "This very place is the lotus land," and goes on to say, “he was saying that everything is alright." Not only is this very place the lotus land, but this very moment, as well. And every no-place. And every non-moment. And every 'lost' moment. If we would 'win' the moment, we need only realize it could not be lost. The only thing to gain or lose is quality of life; yet, within the perspective of this fleeting life, that is a very precious thing to gain, indeed.

Aitkens translates the aforementioned haiku thus:

Now being seen off
Now seeing off — the outcome:
Autumn in Kiso.

Basho is taking leave of friends in Gifu; he's on a pilgrimage to see the full moon at Sarashina. (How wonderful that! Such sensibility makes one weep.) He's come and gone before. Others have come and gone before him. And all this coming and going with immediate purpose, is transcended in understanding that it is all the same coming and going and need achieve nothing, for all is already well. But true transcendence is also immanence and immediacy. It is here. It is now. And for Basho at that moment, it was autumn in Kiso.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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