Tuesday, April 17, 2012

everything breaks

At a time when he was surrounded by a good deal of turmoil, a time when I can imagine his whole commitment to and effort on behalf of Zen Buddhism was under challenge, my teacher's teacher, Soen Nakagawa Roshi, commented, "Everything breaks."

Given the circumstances of that time, I suppose he meant that he was heart-broken among other things.

Everything breaks.

What is broken was once imagined and enjoyed and assumed to be whole. "Broken" takes its cues from "whole" just as "whole" takes its cues from "broken." And this is not just some easy-peasy religious or philosophical term paper. It's not intellectual or emotional, except for those whose fears and habits are too many and too deep.

Everything breaks and when it breaks there may be many tears or a terrific sense of relief.

Love, success, happiness, joy, accomplishment ... everything breaks.

Anger, failure, sorrow, despair ... everything breaks.

But once the joys and sorrows of "everything breaks" have run their course, once "everything breaks" ceases to long for wholeness ... what then? Is it enough to chorus with Buddhists and the like, "everything changes?" Pretty tunes are pretty, but nothing gets settled.

So perhaps a mind-change is in order ... some attitude that is neither embittered nor sad nor smug nor assured by joy or fear. Just an attitude adjustment. If nothing is whole, then everything is whole. If nothing breaks, then everything breaks.

Everything breaks and the sky is blue.

I've seen dandelions lately.

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