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“Don’t Goof Off!” – Daisetz Suzuki Roshi

This body that you wear like a cloak, this mantle that you’ve walked around in for how many centuries – How did it come to you? You could be at the bottom of a stream, sucking algae off the rim of a stone that was formed before Ramses II was in the womb, or you could be silent, verdant moss arising between the outstretched roots of an ancient oak – but you’re not… You are some other kind of great Holiness! Why? How did it come to be?

Listen… Wait for a small armored cricket to sit in one place and breathe. Should that cricket be moved to keep breathing – silently, always in the same direction, so that one breath, and then another, and then another, would assail, would wear away the mortar and stone and bone that we have come to call the Great Wall of China – and after how many breaths would a hole come to pass? A hole made by crickets breath, a hole made large enough for an adult rhinoceros to amble quietly through, just as both the armored cricket and the rhinoceros simultaneously begin to weep, their combined first tears conspiring to form a new-born river here in this world; not some other world – here! – That is how long it’s taken, that is how unthinkably impossible it is to be born as one like you! Don’t waste what you have been given!

Imagine that it is as if you have been gifted with the very sweetest of human voices – because you have! – but you only ever use it day after day to cry out the numbers corresponding to the names of rich people whose cars have arrived via valet service to the sidewalk’s edge. Or at best, you use that majestic sound just to excite people for a time, so that when it’s over, they’ll just go looking like drunkards for something else to excite them, and then – you know – for some more excitement… Or what if you had been given the very same brush that Botticelli used to paint Madonna of the Pomegranate or Pallas and the Centaur, or the one that Frida Kahlo used to paint The Broken Column, or Self Portrait with a Thorn Necklace? What then? Would you use a brush like that to whitewash the fence, or fix that hole in the wall you’ve been meaning to patch?

Watch out Sweet Friend! Materialism wants to sink your ship! Materialism is a grotesque wild boar that wants to devour you in the very moment you slip from the birth canal!

Materialism wants to deceive you! It wants you to think this body is you! You are not even you!... But listen, this body is Holy. This body is the shell that holds the Nectar! That blind nepenthe, deep holy Nectar that flows up the spine and gushes forth from the crown of the skull! Don’t take this for granted!

With open arms now, with open chest, embrace the next being you meet… Forget not good enough, forget mine and yours, forget name, country and caste, your so-called career, your so-called identity, what you think of as attraction or repulsion, forget what you think you see, or don’t see, forget what you think you know….

Become just this – only the Essence at the center of the Breath… Become only the Nectar…

Embrace until there is no “other” left…