The Buddha held up a flower before his circle of disciples. All were confused except one, M. (I abbreviate the name), who smiled. Buddha was happy and announced that M. had received enlightenment and wisdom. M. alone understood.
‘The Flower Sermon’ is found in the Zen collection called Mumonkan.
I’d named spades as trump and had 90 points meld, a marriage in trump, pinochle (jack of diamonds/queen of spades) and a nine of spades. I had double 10 in trump, but no aces in the suit. The bid was 210 and as my partner had 20 points meld, we needed to make 100 in tricks. Ordinarily this shouldn’t have been difficult, but my partner had no spades, no trump. We didn’t make bid. We went bust or ‘set’ as we commonly say in my family. Too bad for us, but those were the cards we were dealt.
In the night, I was hit by a car and knocked out. I awoke flat on my back, with a wide sky above and nobody around. All was silent. [The end.]
An old man got up from his decrepit chair – watching the Yankee game – to venture upstairs to the computer, his back sore from years of hard physical labor. He stopped at the back door because it was a fine bright day outside and he knew it would be good just to look upon the scene of his back yard. There it was, the grass getting tall and slightly swaying, the birdbath in the middle (dry, no birds), the garage with green paint peeling, all bathed in sunlight filtered by a cloud-covered sky and he smiled, twice. He remembered past times, laying on a lawn chair in that yard feeling the warmth of the sun, sometimes sweating, it was so hot. Not today though, he felt too old and worn-out. He shut the door and continued on the way, feeling a twinge of self-pity, but quickly dismissed that, remembering all his brothers and sisters in the human family who had it far worse than he. This was being alone, like so many others in this world.
Suffering, pain, depression from feeling lonely, this is his lot and he accepts it. So what? Add a life to the list of all those gone.
The world in which we live is big and yet small/
We know our place or do we?
We walk and rest and then we’re walking [yet] again/
Are we not lost?
Really, where are we from and [to] where are we going?
a smile and a frown, a laugh and a cry/
be calm, understand, stay, don’t die
(to be cont’d)
Jesus of Nazareth said, “one who puts hand to plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk 9.62). A person working for God looks ahead to the goal of the mission, not behind which is further away from the goal.
Satchel Paige of Mobile (Ala.) said, “don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.” Do not be concerned with what is behind. Something may be chasing you, but it shouldn’t distract you. M.B. Roberts has a nice, concise biographical essay on Paige at ESPN.com.
The lesson we’re being taught here is – look forward. The future is an important place for us to go.
The world and everything in it are just fine. There is good and evil, order and chaos and it’s all expected, though the details are entertaining. God is good, the source of it all and the faintest notion, down here below, of what God is, tells of ignorance and sin. This too is a good thing. Know thyself.