Tears came yesterday morning while considering the oak leaf. Bud in the spring, strong and green in the summer, yellowed in Fall and then brown and back to the ground to serve as mulch for earth and tree. Human life is the same. Where do you come from? Mother. Where will go when you die? The ground. The ground is the end of “I-me-my” and the return to vastness: to the new grasses that push soil in April and become flowers, to the bodies of deer, bugs, and birds who eat the blooms. And back to Earth again, in another form, but always back to earth. No fuzzy split apart soul, for we are not so special. We are blood, bone, hair, and skin, the stuff of Mother and Ground. This is the miracle: birdsong through traffic sounds, a full moon so close it smells of glass and dust, a backache in the morning before coffee.
Now, some words from Dainin Katagiri.
“We always misunderstand what human life is. We always think that ripples as form are formalities; but ripples as form are not formalities. . .Sooner or later you will be fed up with your daily life. You get up in the morning, wash your face, say, “Good morning,” have breakfast, have dinner, go to bed, get up in the morning, repeating the same things, but there is no quality to your life. . .Where are you going? Do you know where you are going? It should be clear. You are heading for emptiness. Simply speaking, you are heading for death. It there anything that you can carry with you? Whatever your teacher gives you may make you happy, but we all have to die; it will not always be someone else’ death. It’s not anyone else’s problem but mine. And when I die there is nothing I can carry with me.” –from Returning to Silence