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Sunday, May 26, 2019

In Place: An Album 26

26

Dark of the year, her altar lacks
flowers: a moss covered oak branch
makes do; in spring
she finds a spray of quince



Flowering quince goes well with the red altar cloth and bowls, so she enjoys the three weeks or so that the blossoms may be available. Still, every offering is quite right.

One day Daowu and Yunyan were out walking with Yaoshan, who pointed at two trees with his finger. One was healthy and the other was withered up. He asked Daowu, "Which is better, the withered tree or the healthy tree?" Daowu answered, "The healthy one is better." Yaoshan said, "So everything around it becomes bright and colorful." Then he asked Yunyan the same question. Yunyan said, "The withered tree is better." Yaoshan said, "So everything around it looks gray and withered up." An attendant named Gao appeared suddenly. Yaoshan asked him the same question. Gao said, "The withered one is withered and the healthy one is healthy." Yaoshan turned to Daowu and Yunyan and said, "You were both wrong."
-- Soto Zen Ancestors in China, James Mitchell, 62




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