05 September 2010

Beethoven's Tenth

Today in teisho we heard a bit from Tangen-Roshi of Bukkokuji. I had heard much about him, but not anything from him, so I poked around on the net and found this, which brought instant tears to my eyes:

"The last evening before I joined the army during the war I went to my room and I sat there listening to the gramophone, an old one, no electricity, Beethoven's Symphony No 9, again and again, at two o'clock I wrote on the sleeve: 'I am listening to it now, maybe the last time'. I joined the air forces and the day my last flight was due the war ended; if my last flight was just a day earlier, nobody of you would be sitting here. But I went back home, the record was still where I left it, I opened it and the inscription was there. But I didn't listen to it any more. After the war I met a nun who introduced me to the Dharma. She took me to the zazen in Kannon temple in Tokyo and then when I heard the Shiseigando Sutra, even though I didn't understand the meaning because I didn't have the written text, I knew this was the harmony I was seeking. I couldn't stop crying, it was raining when I was going home, but the rain of my tears was even bigger. I didn't listen to the classical music anymore. Beethoven is powerful, but the silence is even more powerful. This is the Tenth Symphony of Beethoven."

And at this very moment, we, too, are listening, maybe for the last time.

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