Today's picture is the andromeda galaxy. see the APOD web site for terrific daily photos of the universe.
I've been reading Dogen's Extensive Record (Eihei Koroku) translated by Leighton & Okumura for most of the year. Can't say enough good things about this book!
Much of what Dogen has to say can appear, at times, to be impenetrable. As is the case with many teachings, his words arrive from a thousand years and an entire world away.
Nonetheless, I continue to sense that they speak of matters that are directly next to me in this very moment.
The following passage is from p. 594, "All going together:"
"Wearing hair and sprouting horns, go together with others
In the boundless kalpa-ending fire, do not turn your head
Even withered ash and dead trees are scorched completely,
What face do you have that begrudges these conditions?"
"Wearing hair and sprouting horns" relates to the Zen practices of attending to the energies at the middle, right and left at the top of the head. In doing this, we attend to the inner relationships between our parts ("going together with others.") We attempt to form a new inward relationship. This relationship, if cultivated, acquires a sustaining force which can carry our being.
No matter what happens- in the endless and eternal moments that we meet, in which everything arises and is instantly is consumed by the fires of time- we must remain resolute in practice, never turning our heads.
"Even withered trees and dead ash are scorched completely." Nothing is excepted from this process- even death itself is consumed by time.
What face do we have that begrudges these conditions? Indeed. we have no choice but to accept-- to accept completely, to accept unconditionally-- every arising, every condition we encounter, including this absolute condition of transience.
I continue to make efforts to found practice on an acceptance of conditions. In doing so I see more and more how conditional I am. I find it's only through participation in an informed inner relationship that I can inhabit my conditions, instead of trying to control them.