Posted inDharma, Koans, Videos

Summer 2023: Sesshin Talk 5

August 5, 2023

A World So Full it Can’t Accept One More Thing

Valerie takes up Seppo’s “What is This” (Hekiganroku Case 51), together with earlier and later episodes in Seppo and Ganto’s long, poignant friendship. At one point in the Case Ganto says, “I never told Seppo the last word.” Conventionally a “last word” is someone’s dying words, but in Ganto’s mouth the phrase sheds ordinary measures of before and after, delivering us right-here, where each word is the last word. This word, that candle, that flower, this sound swallow or exhaust everything, in a world so brimmingly complete it almost can’t accept one more thing. Each thing is so perfectly cut out. So, how to speak such a “last word,” rising irresistibly from one’s own breast and exposing the whole of existence?

Ganto also says: “Seppo and I were born on the same stem, but we won’t die on the same stem.” We are all of us born together and at the same time, what a marvel! Born now. One birth. Yet here I am talking, here you are listening, summer in the zendo… and at the same time, nothing is going on. Everything comes up and everything is exhausted in each breath, cough, word, gesture.

Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash

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