to the small poem and the quiet voice within

john bennett | chopping wood & carrying water

Hand over fist. Time after time. There’s something out there that I’m reaching for. Alliances are short lived. Women, children and stout hearts veer off, drop away. It’s a solo game.

I encountered Shunryu Suzuki years ago at his Zen center in San Francisco. I just wandered in off the street in the middle of three days of non-stop drinking. I had no idea where I was. Two Zen novitiates in robes and Adidas gave me nervous looks. And then Suzuki came wandering into the room. We stood looking at each other without speaking for quite some time while the novitiates looked back and forth between us. Then Suzuki smiled, put his hands together in the manner of someone about to pray, gave a little bow and glided back out of the room. The two novitiates leaned toward me, squinting. I went back out into the streets.

This morning I put my copy of Suzuki’s book Not Always So into a padded envelope and sent it to my granddaughter for her 20th birthday. I enclosed a note: “I think it may be time for you to consider this.”

Then I went out and put in a nine-hour work day.


Suzuki transformed by Monsieur K.

1 Comment

  1. josephW grant

    Always a pleasure to be steered to Bashos Road.

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