by Sawaki Kôdô Rôshi
Translated from Japanese by Jesse Haasch and Muhô
“As a human being, whatever you do, you should do it in a way that can’t be repeated a second time. What can be repeated is best left to the robots.
Life doesn’t run on tracks.
Birds don’t sing in major or minor. Bodhidharma’s teaching doesn’t fit on lined paper.
The buddha-dharma is wide and unlimited. When you try to hold it still, you’ve missed it. It isn’t dried cod, but a live fish. Living fish have no fixed form.
In the soldier’s handbook it says that in war you must be prepared for a thousand different possibilities. That doesn’t just go for war – there’s no rule book for life either. When you try to live your life according to a manual, you’re sure to fail.
For a court case as well, it goes without saying that you have to be on your guard when everything runs according to the book.
The wild geese leave no traces,
yet no matter where they fly, they never lose their way.
There are no footprints on the way of the bird. It’s not the same as a steam engine that runs on tracks or an ox’s well-worn path.
Don’t we live life from moment to moment? How could we possibly take life, analyze it, systematize it and file it away?
However much you accomplish in this life, you can’t present any of it at the last judgement. You will die naked.
In the end, there will be nothing left for you to do besides let go.
Isn’t it evident that the greatest happiness consists in doing what you have to do?
You can’t depend on anything. The value of things changes. This insight is what motivated Shakyamuni to renounce his King’s title, to leave his wife and son and become a monk.”