Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Muso Soseki

                One spring evening, Muso Soseki was meditating under a tree outside his hermitage. When it was fully night, he stood up to return to the hut. Because it was too dark for him to be able to see, he reached out to where he thought the hermitage wall should be. There was nothing there, and he stumbled and fell. At that moment, it was as if he had fallen through a “wall of darkness” into light. The “unity of all things” was no longer a concept but rather an achieved experience. He wrote this verse to commemorate the event:

For many years I dug the earth and searched for the blue heaven,
And how often, how often did my heart grow heavier and heavier.
One night, in the dark, I took stone and brick,
And mindlessly struck the bones of the empty heavens.

[Muso Soseki – Zen Masters of Japan: 107-13]

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