by Sawaki Kôdô Rôshi
Translated from Japanese by Jesse Haasch and Muhô
“What a shame to have been born a human being and to spend your whole life worrying. You should reach the point where you can be happy to have been born a human.
Birth, old age, sickness and death – we can’t fool around with these ultimate facts.
Reality: getting a handle on this must be our goal. Don’t get stuck in categories.
It’s strange that not a single person seriously considers his own life. For ages, we’ve been carrying around something uncooked. And we comfort ourselves with the fact that it’s the same for the others too. That’s what I call group stupidity: thinking that we just have to be like the others.
Satori means creating your own life. It means waking up from group stupidity.
In a part of Manchuria, the carts are pulled by huge dogs. The driver hangs a piece of meat in front of the dog’s nose, and the dog runs like crazy to try to get at it. But of course he can’t. He’s only thrown his meat after the cart has finally reached its destination. Then in a single gulp, he swallows it down.
It’s exactly the same with people and their pay checks. Until the end of the month they run after the salary hanging in front of their noses. Once the salary is paid, they gulp it down, and they’re already off: running after the next payday.
Nobody can see further than the end of their nose. Everyone believes that their life somehow has meaning, but they’re really no different from swallows: the males gather food, the females sit on the eggs.
Most people aren’t following any clear approach to life. They get by with makeshift methods, like rubbing lotion on a cramped shoulder.
The question is: why are you straining your forehead so much?
If you aren’t careful, you’ll spend your whole life doing nothing besides waiting for your ordinary-person hopes to someday be fulfilled.”