I was contemplating these letters while out walking in the neighborhood this afternoon. Yes, and thinking about my own poor writing style and spelling ability in comparison with these works of art. Thinking of my habit of purposely scrawling letters when not sure of the correct spelling. Yes, and I was also wondering if the honorable thing would be to write back in kind, by hand or if a phone call or an email would be good. Yes, and I was all the while mentally writing a posting about hand written letters for movingmountains. Personally I regard this kind of walking and thinking as ‘unhelpful ruminating’. Then I happened to look up from the pavement where my eyes invariably focus when….‘unhelpfully ruminating’! A jackrabbit bounded into the road and then crossed the urban lawns and flowerbeds, disappearing eventually behind some bushes! Not something you see every day of the week and it certainly caught my attention. It also distracted me from my thoughts.
There is a saying in Zen that goes something like, when walking just walk, when sitting just sit, when eating just eat, and so on. Then there are those things and incidents that cross ones path, so to speak, which bring one back to this simple teaching.
Here are words from Noygen Senzaki before he died, sometimes called a death poem. He was a well-known Zen monk who lived a wandering existence in America and died in1958.
“Friends in Dharma, be satisfied with your own heads.
Do not put any false heads above your own.
Then, minute after minute watch your steps closely.
These are my last words to you.”
The Iron Flute, 100 Zen Koans,
by Nyogen Senzaki,
Came across this poem while having a cup of tea after returning from my walk.