Thursday, April 06, 2006

Middle Road of Biscayne Blvd



"Students don't have enough faith in themselves, and so they rush around looking for something outside themselves. But even if they get something, all it will be is words and phrases, pretty appearances. They'll never get at the living thought of the patriarchs!
Make no mistake, you followers of Ch'an. If you don't find it in this life,
then for a thousand lifetimes and ten thousand kalpas you'll be reborn again and again in the threefold world, you'll be lured by what you think are favorable environments and be born in the belly of a donkey or a cow!"
Linji
from the Linji lu


The power steering had gone completely out in my truck and so on Monday I ventured out onto the wild streets of Miami, into the fray of swirling cars and mad drivers, with a vehicle that took corners like an old tank, to find a mechanic. I had to stop off at an office, in a tiny little parking lot, and as I forced, pulled, and yanked at the wheel to get the truck to make a tight turn, the spectators at the nearby restaurant seemed to enjoy the show. After that stop I forced the truck back onto Biscayne Blvd, home to year-round construction and ever present lane changes. Once I was moving, turning the wheel wasn't so bad.
As I drove down Biscyane Blvd I looked at the shops and department stores, restaurants and car lots, all with something to take the mind off of the here and now, off of the car troubles, lack of air conditioning in Miami weather, bills, woes of life, and all the rest that comes bundled with existence. Of course, this way of thinking, distracting the mind away from mindfulness of the present situation, addressing our condition of suffering, comes with a substantial amount of interest, so to speak. The more we buy, the more we cry. The woes pile up. We need bigger distractions. We need them to last longer. We need them to be shinier and be visible to more people. The suffering of existence lies in these parking lots off of the main road.
In my truck, unable to make the tight turns necessary to navigate the majority of the parking lots, unwilling to go through the motions to navigate the others, I had only one option: to take the middle road and drive onward to my goal. It was hot, yes, but there was a sense of peace as I drove with singular purpose, without swerving through traffic to get a better position, attempting to find shortcuts, or driving at the closest possible proximity the bumper ahead of my own. I drove not for the destination but for each breath and moment of life, appreciating the quiet time to calmly reflect and release. My only bit of remorse was-If only I could get the power steering to go out in my head.
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Quote from:
Watson, Burton Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi New York: Columbia University Press 1993

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