Salt is salty,
Sugar is sweet.
The tree is green and
The river flows to the sea.
This is true,
But how does truth function?
That's the point!
Our thinking mind makes this world very complex. But, with the ox settled into its stable, the world becomes very simple. Just black type on a pale yellow background.
We might wish to rest in the thusness of truth, but what about those who suffer? When truth appears, we cannot avoid their cries.
This was the decision faced by the Buddha as he lingered under the bodhi tree in the initial weeks after his great enlightenment. He had perceived the truth of suffering and its end, but more remained to be done. And so he began his teaching.
The poem by Kuòān Shīyuǎ doesn't capture this sense of one more step:
In returning to the fundamentals and going back to the source,
I had to work so hard.
Perhaps it would have been better to be blind and deaf.
Being in the hut, I do not see what is outside.
The river flowing tranquilly,
The flower simply being red.
You can go to the first post in this series by clicking here.
Image by Yokoo Tatsuhiko
Kuòān's Poem from The Oxherder, by Stephanie Wada