Autumn arrives after many rows of typhoon. The cicada retired as the maples and gingko trees softly exits from the persistent green of summer. The leaves are still, the insects now exhausted, it may feel like when one walks through the landscape as if walking in a painting.
The seasonal calendar, Shichijuuni Kou (七十二候) divides a year into 24 parts of the seasons and 3 natural phenomenon in these 24 stages further marking it down to every five days. The sight of Peony flowers ends Spring and the frogs croaks into the beginning of Summer.
Seasons tell of the elusiveness of time and also of its unchanging nature. Peonies do not flower twice a year, everything that is possible can only be possible now.
I remembered a species of Palmtree back in Singapore... The Talipot Palm tree lives for as long as 80 years before it flowers, only once at the end of its life. I romanticized my life as being the life of this plant, so that as long as I hold onto my life, I will flower eventually... even at the end of my life. Such fantasies can only be so easy to run away from who I really am. Any wish to think of the self as a bad person so as to feel good about the self is escapism too. Of course the question of who I am is still a puzzle to me. Flowering when one should flower because it is time, withering when one withers is also only time.
The illusion of life begins when I think that my life belongs to me. Growing up only when I want to, eating only when I want to. We see ourselves giving a part of our bodies every day to the vegetables and rice plants and take them in only to give again. It is tempting to think that the person sitting through five day sesshin in the hondo and cooking for five days as myself. But it seems like if I would have started tenzo training (like also everyone else) after one or two months being in Antaiji, it will not be able possible for me to continue staying. Sitting and facing a wall after five months made a difference in my daily decisions of staying on this course.
In the records of Joshuu's sayings, someone asked what is the way of monks, Joshuu replied: having nothing within, seeking nothing outside. (in a crude translation)
Still, I cannot hope to be greedy here over my practice to be a different person from who I am. Only to continue what has been done every day. Not giving in less. Not wanting more.