These are a couple of pines from the famous gardens at Tenryu-ji in Kyoto. What perfect weather we had for exploring!
These pines are just the right size – they don’t pretend to be bigger or smaller than they are – how unlike us!
This morning I read a story from Dogen’s collection Shinji Shobogenzo.
Layman Ho-on came full of praise for Master Baso’s enlightened state, and asked him to say something uplifting about ‘original nature’
Master Baso looked down. Ho-on then praised this teaching, how wonderfully you express the dharma. Master Baso then looked up.
Later Ho-on said to Baso – I played at being skilful but found out how unskillful I am.
What’s that all about?
Baso undermined Ho-on’s view once, and then undermined his view again. When you want uplifting I look down, and when you praise looking down I look up.
I don’t think he was being contrary for the sake of it. He may have simply been expressing how difficult it is to truly know the dharma – but I think there is also something here about being right sized.
Ho-on heaps praise on the Master – who looks down – I imaging him frowning (in a silly, mugging way). I am not up there on the pedestal you put me on.
Ho-on then praises the Master’s hang-dog expression. The Master looks up, I imagine him grinning – I’m not down there either.
What is your right size? When you know your foolishness and your capacity for love you will know.
A Buddhist teacher once said to me: confidence and humility are the same.