A teacher asked a pilgrim, “Where have you come from?”
“From Dongshan’s,” replied the pilgrim.
“What does Dongshan teach?”
“He usually teaches in three ways.”
“What are they?”
“The dark way, the bird path, and the open hand.”
—from The Record of Dongshan
John says birds open the sky for us when we watch them fly—everything just appears, and then is gone, with no trace. If we trust whatever appears, that’s a taste of the bird path. Might it be true that no matter what, you’re not having the wrong moment, that you don’t have to disapprove? When it’s difficult, it’s good to know that it’s for us, it’s ours. Life is blessing us all the time. Our thinking and feeling “This isn’t it,” is what we call loneliness. John talks about how our practice asks us, “What’s it like to be alive, to be me? What’s it like to be a tree? A bird? What if I’m a fire? What if I’m river?” My mind and the universe—not much difference.