07 November 2011

No Wiggle Room

He must carry the holeless iron yoke,
And his descendants too can have no peace or rest.
If you want to support the gate and sustain the house
You must climb a mountain of swords with bare feet.
– Verse, Mumonkan 17

When there's no hole there's no distance between the yoke and the neck, no opportunity to fudge, no wiggle room at all.  Every motion has the yoke as part of it.  The yoke makes certain movements impossible.   

There's the mountain of sharpened metal; here are my bare, all too soft, all too pink-soled, ticklish feet.  It's viande hachée time, folks!

When I was asked why I wanted to ordain, my answer was quick, unrehearsed and decisive: "Because I don't want this [the practice] to die out."  What's funny is that I did not know then, and still don't know completely, just what that would demand by way of readjustment to my life, my attitudes, my way of doing things, and the rest.  All I knew, and all I still know, was that I was agreeing to be tethered to the wagon and pushed up the hill.  

And that's enough.

It was only later I found out that the answer I gave was the only answer my preceptor would accept.  I've not been at this all that long, but from what I've seen so far, I can certainly understand why!

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