Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Attachment, Impermanence & Suffering

That day that you told me

That you loved me,

I didn't realize

That you


Talking to

My hair.

I've asked Hakuin's Daruma to be our poster boy for impermanence today. Tradition does not tell us what his hair looked like when he had it, other than to tell us that his beard was red. What ever it looked like, I'm guessing it looked pretty good when he was young and that he probably didn't spend a lot of time brooding about its' loss when he shaved it off. Would that all of us could face the changes wrought by the passage of time so well.

This poem really isn't about hair loss, it is about the pain caused by attachment, lost love, false perceptions, foolish attractions, impermanence and most importantly, realization. This poor person has just had a moment of clarity, lucky devil!

That's a lot of heavy lifting for such a little poem!

I'll leave you with a quote from the ever quotable Dogen Zenji, from Thomas Cleary's translation of Genjokoan.

"Because the Buddha Way originally sprang forth from abundance and paucity, there is birth and death, delusion and enlightenment, sentient beings and Buddhas. Moreover, though this is so, flowers fall when we cling to them, and weeds only grow when we dislike them."

Today's image is a photo taken at the Hakuin exhibition at the LACMA, currently on display. If you live in California, you should make it a point to go see this, the largest such display ever assembled. For information, go to:

The Dogen quote is taken from The Zensite's Dogen section, a wonderful font of all things Dogen, see:


Barry said...

Of course, flowers blossom and fall no matter what we do or don't do. Weeds grow whether we like them or not. And hair . . . well, hair seems to have a mind of its own. (Perhaps it's proximity!)

David Clark said...

We call them flowers when we like them and find them beautiful. What is a weed except a plant that we don't like?

I guess the real problem arises when we cultivate our dislike for weeds. After a while, all we can see are weeds because we have cherished our dislike. Ditto with our sorrow at the falling of those flowers.

When I see all of the independent bookstores that I have loved all my life closing up, perhaps never to return, I can't help but feel this sorrow of falling flowers.