I am. I am what I am. A walnut tree grows walnuts. It does not grow tulips. The tulip plant is no less than the walnut tree. The walnut tree is no less than the tulip. Yet the tulip grows no nuts. I am living my life. You are living your life. That’s all. I read, I write, I learn, I travel, I speak, I love, I relax. The birds sing in the fine weather and are silent in the cold. I put a log on the fire. They snuggle in nests or fly to Africa. What do you do? Do you enjoy it?
Where are you going to? Where will you be? After giving the Dharma talk I shall wash my socks. If the sun comes out I shall prune the roses. There are seventeen rose bushes, no two the same. The big one is perfectly big and the small one is perfectly small. They each die in their own time. Before they die, they bloom, or not. I do what I can.
Where are you from? The grass only grows in the summer, but it grows. In the winter it is preparing and strengthening its roots. Are you? Did you? Will you? I am doing what I can to keep the blood circulating in my leg so that I don’t need to go back to hospital. Of course, one day my effort will not be enough. Or, maybe, I shall die of something else first. In the meantime, I am living my life. There is nothing wrong. Some grass flourishes and some dies. My legs are my legs. Your legs are yours. Mine are a special gift from the universe. I hope yours are too. Only for the time being.
What do you have? Everything and nothing. Grass, legs, tulips - all the same. This is not me, this is not mine, this is not myself. Yet it is. It is the life that is me and that is nobody’s business. Pleasure and pain, sadness and joy, get up in the morning, feed the cat, breakfast. Things to do, or not. Is it raining today? This is what I have. None of it is mine and I am not its.
If you come by we can have a chat. There is always something to experience, something to learn. I can tell you about my mistakes and you can tell me your travels. Where are you going to? Where are you from? I asked these questions when I was very young and there was a rock in the garden that taught me wisdom. I don’t know why that happened at such a tender age. Perhaps we had a karmic affinity.
I hope we meet, but if it is not to be, that is good too. Who knows who is who? Yet I am me and you are you. Perhaps the one that one meets is the rock in the garden, or, perhaps it is the tulip or the walnut tree or the squirrel running off with the nuts. Perhaps we meet across the impossible emptiness of impermanence. Perhaps our conditions coincide for a moment. Isn’t it amazing? Enjoy one another! You are not me, I am not yours, you are not myself. If you think you know who you are, you are certainly mistaken, and yet, you could not be anybody else.
All I am trying to say is that this is it, this is one’s lot and it is the only platform for joy that one has. All the time we grasp at formulas that may save us. We would like to be sure. Yet sometimes it is life, sometimes death, sometimes vigour, sometimes sickness, and none of these is any less than the other. We would each like to be special, to be exempt, but only eternity is exempt. When the tulip has flowered it will die back and prepare for next year. When I have finished flowering I shall die back and prepare for eternity, just like I always did.
That’s all for now. Namo Amida Bu.