So, my friend Blanche got me one of those Page-A-Day calendars with zen sayings. It’s becoming a holiday tradition, actually, since she got me one last year too. It’s kind of like my spiritual Red Bull. Every morning I sit down at my desk and rip off yesterday to find the wisdom of today. This morning’s saying, however, was more like caffeine-free Diet-Rite.
From the end of the nose
Of the Buddha on the moor
Okay, does anybody else read that and have to fight the desire to respond, “And the dog barks at midnight”?
So I sat here and glared at that all day long. It was in my peripheral vision as I worked and periodically I stopped and looked at it like it was a child tugging on my sleeve and begging for my attention. “WHAT do you WANT?”
And, you know, the more I looked at it, the more it started to make sense. I’m still not sure how it made sense or why, but it just did. Maybe that’s the essence of zen.
Possible interpretations of today’s zen-on-a-rope:
The Buddha meditates in any environment, even a cold one that will make icicles on his nose.
The Buddha is not immune to nature, even in meditation.
The Buddha has a cold, but will not blow his nose during meditation and thus has icicles, or snot-cicles as it may be.
Perhaps I was subconsciously drawn to the saying throughout the day because it contained the origin of my name – moor. My family name is of Scottish descent and comes from the moors, or rocky cliffs, on the shores of Scotland. In fact, that word stuck out to me because it seemed so non-Buddha and far more Maxwell McCormack to me.
And the word drew me back and drew me back, again and again. It drew me back to the same spot over and over until I saw that there are icicles on the Buddha because the Buddha is still. And I hadn’t been in so long. And I needed it desperately.
There is another saying from the above-mentioned calendar: “Life without zazen is like winding your clock without setting it. It runs perfectly well, but it doesn’t tell time.” (Shunryu Suzuki) Zazen is the place of stillness sought in meditation.
Shhhhhhh. . .