Now I was explaining for you this morning the basic connection between Zen Buddhism and the secular everyday world in which there is no obstruction, no barrier, between the sacred and the secular. The transcendent, and the everyday worldly. If you see, you relate to the transcendent. To God, or whatever as something that could be an object of knowledge, then you put God down among things. To relate to God as it were to another person, is to ungod God. And make the absolute one thing among others. On the other hand, when you leave the transcendent transcendent, you can’t think about it at all, and therefore you could say how could I relate to it. Often Christians complain that you can’t love an undifferentiated aesthetic continuum. Or necessary being of that circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is no where.
But, when you look for the ultimate reality as an object of love, something to love, you must find it, not as one thing among many, but as all things. And of course that is the root of compassion as an absolutely cardinal energy of Buddhism. But the fact remains that Buddhists do not relate to the absolute as something apart from the ordinary finite world. Although there is no way of thinking about it, and no way of speaking of it as it is in itself nevertheless you mustn’t forget. That it is you, the real you. You are not some people who came into this world from somewhere else altogether. And it’s very silly when we identify ourselves with our particular small separate bodies or something inside them, and then say to our parents you got me into this mess. It was your fault that I was born. And always we are blaming our condition on someone or something else, but that’s only because we have made a very arbitrary definition of who we are. You were actually the evil gleam in your father’s eye when he went after your mother. That is just as much you as anything that sprung from it, because it’s all a continuous flow of life. Like the leap of a wave true when it hits the rock it bursts into a thousand droplets. But every droplet is the wave bursting, and so every human being is the it, the cosmic energy playing, and in this sense, just as you do really, although we don’t acknowledge it in our social conventions you do really beat your heart you don’t know how you’ll beat it. Nor do you know how you open and close your hand and yet you say I can I know how to open and close my hand and pick up something. But you don’t really know these two don’t know if you really know but you don’t know in words how it’s done you couldn’t explain it in the coding read is a few words are a form of coding experience and we can’t possibly put everything in words because there wouldn’t be enough time. For a million years you couldn’t put everything in words because you’d have to code it all it would be like trying to drink the Pacific Ocean with a fork.
But still you see, if you do beat your heart, and if you do indeed grow your hair. Then you will find out that if that is true it is also true that you are blowing the wind and shining the sun and twinkling the stars in just exactly the same sense that you are beating your heart. [Because] it’s all you, it’s all the action of that energy which is you. So we need to overcome the sense of irresponsibility of being in a world which isn’t our place which isn’t our home, and we’re not responsible for it, and we had a bunch of ancestors who were fools and got us into this mess. When you were a grandfather. I’m a grandfather, I have five grandchildren, you begin to realize that you’re just as stupid as your own grandfather. So but the thing is we do not need to find the highest reality, the ground of our being, as something we can feel or know, as if it were some sort of object, you just be content with the fact that it is like sight, the substratum of everything seen. Like hearing the substratum of everything heard. But deeper than that, it is the substratum of everything that is. But don’t differentiate it from everything that is because that puts it in a category this and not that. It’s outside all categories. It’s both this and that. Here and there. But it’s always now.
So, I went on to show you that if this is realized, there is possible a kind of quietness, in which very everyday things become marvelous. For example, such a bamboo ladle as this, very cheap. Costs maybe one hundred yen which is forty cents or less as the three hundred sixty end to a dollar. But this is one of the most beautiful objects ever made. Look at that. It was of course just an ordinary dipping ladle originally, for the kitchen, or for drinking water. Takeit in one of those stone bowls that they put. They get a big stone and hollow out the top and then with a bamboo pipe it comes from a mountain spring, and water is always falling into this cut out bowl, slopping over the sides and then drifting out through a bit of gravel so it doesn’t get muddy. And you can just have such labels as this and they’re usually a little bigger but that’s the same principle lying on the well and you scoop it up and take a drink of this gorgeous fresh spring water. But that’s all, it’s the simplest possible kitchen object. And yet I think, probably the most beautiful thing used in the whole Tea Ceremony. And then, bowls such as these, which are called Raku wear. And you see immediately this is nothing special. Actually looks as if it were made by a child. Was just starting to learn pottery. It’s rough, look, even the top isn’t isn’t smooth it’s bumpy all along. It’s been made by hand. You know this was made on a wheel but sometimes they’re not, they’re just shaped. And the glaze is very, very rough and crude. But this goes back to a fundamental aesthetic principle of the Taoist philosophy which underlies this whole thing it underlies Zen. It written a thing from Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, and lived somewhere around four in three hundred B.C.. And very important in their thinking was something they call the uncarved block. And the uncarved block is of course wood in its original state. Before human beings have tried to shape it into anything. And just as today we have learned the beauty of pieces of driftwood which we put around our homes every piece of such driftwood is the uncarved block. And then there was something else that Lao Tzu talked about which was unbleached silk. You know how shun Tung silk is which got a little nobbles in it and it’s rather rough. Well that sort of silk a natural color which hasn’t been dyed or bleached at all that is sort of this effect you see of this curtain. The spirit of the uncarved block and the unbleached silk enters into a bowl of this kind. And it seems that for that such a bowl is more in accordance with the nature of clay. It really looks like it’s made of clay. Than something that is white porcelain almost translucent.
Now, this is this way, because the artists feel that a bowl of this kind is more natural than something elaborate, and here we have to consider a very funny problem, because after all, no distinction is more artificial than that between the artificial in the natural. You might say the distinction between the artificial in the natural is a very artificial distinction. Because surely, a bird’s nest is no more no less natural and the Empire State Building. What about a bee’s nest, with all those little cells and things in it. And so truly, everything that human beings do is natural. Only we’re looking at each other rather closely and critically. I was looking at yesterday, at a wonderful movie, of fish of carp which a friend of mine took in Japan. And when those fish swim they never make a mistake, they’re always elegant. And in the same way when the foam breaks on the water it never makes an aesthetic mistake. Beautiful every time, never fails. And there’s only been one person in history who ever complained about the arrangement of the stars. And that was a man living in the eighteenth century you know, when they arranged formal gardens and made all the tulips form fours, and they cut all the trees into symmetrical shapes, and they planted everything out with box hedges around the edge in geometrical patterns. And this particular French scholar complained at the time that the Lord would have manifested His glory far more surely if he had arranged the stars in some sort of orderly fashion to declare in geometrical figures the inner workings of the Divine Mind. But he was some sort of a nut. Because nobody else ever said that there was anything wrong with the arrangement of the stars they’re beyond criticism. And we think they’re gorgeous, because of the way they are scattered. And it is strange isn’t it, how very often scattering produces the most fascinating and beautiful arrangements the random beauty. But, there is some problem about this, because by scattering, you can sometimes also make messes. And a lot of people don’t understand the difference between random beauty and mess. And therefore ,the art that goes into the tea ceremony is partly accidental. That bowl is partly accidental. But it’s also controlled. And so, the trick of this whole art form is to arrange for a controlled accident. And that’s the whole thing. When you combine the quality in man which enables him to master things and control them and yet within the context of that discipline you can allow accidents. Then you have the best of both worlds, the world of order and the world of randomness, and skill in life is always in combining these. For example, in games. A game that was perfectly or orderly would be too predictable. And when we know the result of a game, we always cancel the game and start again. If it’s clear in chess after a certain stage that one of the people is obviously going to win, then we stop the game and we say well you’re the winner and we’ll start again. But on the other hand, the game of pure chance is not so interesting, as one in which some skill can be introduced. So throwing dice or roulette, it actually has a certain skill, but the skill is connected with the way you gamble on it, rather than how you spin the wheel. So, we always want somehow, to make this extraordinary combination of control and uncontrol. That is to have a dragon by the tail. Nobody can really control a dragon. And yet, you can do something with it. And it’s marvelous.
So, great sages in Chinese iconography are often depicted riding on dragons or more frequently on tigers and sometimes on water buffaloes. A water buffalo too can be a very obstreperous beast. Lao Tzu is frequently shown playing a flute and riding on a water buffalo, because his intensely calm spirit didn’t bother the buffalo and when he sat on its back it hardly felt him. So then, this whole approach is based on a subtle combination of order and randomness, which is exemplified in the Chinese term Li which means originally the markings in jade of the grain in wood, or the fiber in muscle. And we when we see these things, when we see say the markings in marble, or rather patterns of sand, or the outlines of clouds or the structure of mountains and rather warm rocks, we know at once the something marvelous and beautiful about them and our artists do them the honor of painting them. But we cannot pin it down, just what it is, this beauty. And that’s the excitement of it. If you could explain, by some geometrical reasoning, the beauty of any painting or any natural object, it wouldn’t be beautiful because you could explain it. If you could train in [an] art school, every student to become a genius. Then nobody would be surprised by it any more. Everybody would know just exactly how it was done and what was the right way to do it. And then as a result of that everybody would be bored, and they would look for some artist who could do something quite unexplainable. And it’s true, the great artist really can’t explain how he does what he does. When he becomes a teacher, he’s often a very bad teacher. Because he himself doesn’t know.
So there is a Zen poem which says, if you want to know the flowers where the flowers come from, even the god of spring doesn’t know. So the great creator always surprises himself, and if this is true in art. How much more true must it be in Zen. If we could get an enlightenment, an awakening and I could tell you exactly how to get it. So I would have an infallible formula. It would become very ordinary. So don’t please, think that there is any such way. Anybody who comes to you selling you an infallible system is a fraud. And of course there are crowds of them. You practice these exercises, you do just this what I tell you, so on so forth you will get it. If you could you wouldn’t want it. Not that way. So then, in superb beauty, there is an element that cannot be defined in analogy with the fact that the root and ground of the world cannot be defined. If it could be, if I could put it in our own language, if God understood himself completely, totally, through and through was absolutely transparent to his own knowledge and absolutely subject to his own control he would say to himself man get lost. Because it’s surprise, that’s the essence of life, and that’s why the fundamental game of the world is the game of hide and seek. Now you see it but now you don’t. And it’s that you see, it’s the hide and seek that keeps the world going round. And generates the yang and the yin. Positive and negative. Controlled nad uncontrolled order and randomness light and darkness.
So that principle of order plus randomness equals beauty as distinct from mess is basic to all Far Eastern aesthetics. And connected with it there is another principle surrounding everything here which is called yugen. And this is made up this word of two characters one of which means mysterious and the other means profound, or obscure even. And what is yugen? Well the great playwright Sayami gives some definitions of you again but they’re all images he doesn’t really tell you what it is sometimes it’s called a flower growing from the rock. But he says. Yugen is to watch the sun go down behind a hill covered in flowers. It is to rock ships far out in the ocean. Being sailing and concealed by far off islands. Yugen is to watch wild geese seen and lost in the clouds it is to wander on and on in a great forest without thought of return. What is the connection between these images? Well I think you can feel it. Even if you can’t put your finger on it. Another poem with much yugen in it is Basho’s haiku: This is all there is. The path comes to an end among the parsley.
Now do you remember as children, mysterious paths that you often wondered where they went. And you never explored. And do remember sometimes you got the feeling that when you a path took you to a fence from there appeared to be a dead end, that there was actually some sort of a secret door which you couldn’t quite remember how to get through, but there must be something there. And I have seen a Japanese garden and temple all designed and put together so as to give the impression of gates going somewhere or other. Even if it only just went round the building, there was always the impression of the lead up to something beyond beyond beyond beyond. I’ve seen in a suburb where there are houses for miles nevertheless because of the trees down the street you could look over the ridge of the houses opposite and use all those tree branches sticking up beyond them. And it suggested that beyond that row of house there must be forest and fields and the open. Don’t you look out to see. Way way down to the south say there are great clouds floating and your mind is drawn out across horizons. To Heaven only knows what islands, what mysterious places. And it’s that feeling of oooh, like that drawn out into the mysterious, you see that is yugen. We don’t give it away, we don’t take the journey. It always remains there as a potentiality. As a bottomless mystery. And it’s true you see, that that is always there one will never get to the end you will never finish psychoanalysis. You will never get to the bottom of the unconscious. Because always there is another place. And if you follow greedily and think I’m going to grab places and see where things, well, you become a world gobbler. Leave it alone. Some people cannot leave mysteries alone. They have to prove it all and find it all out. And see everything, and touch it. And then they spit on it and say well it wasn’t anything after all. So it is very important for example if you have a friend. And you are very much in love with your friend, you must not probe to find out everything. You must always allow another person reservations and secrets, because the moment you think that you know another person through and through, they become a robot in your eyes. You know exactly how they’re going to tick under any given circumstances or you think you do. So always leave something alone. Don’t explore everything, don’t ask all questions. I know I have had students. I had one once on a trip to Japan. And ask ask ask ask ask all the time is it this way, is it that way, is it just so is it like that is it like this. I remember once somebody talking like this to the great artists Sabro Hasegawa. And finally he got mad and he said well some matter with you can’t you feel? Because they want to know say the exact method, to do this do that to do the other thing.
Now, naturally, description has its virtues, and saying… I mean there is a point to be able to give concise instructions as to how to put together a bicycle. Fine. But on the other hand, when it comes to these things for which we can’t give instructions, because we ourselves don’t know how it’s done, then you have to get it by feeling. And so, yugen. Don’t inquire too closely. Let that path disappear up into the mountains. Heaven only knows where it goes. Maybe to some fabulous Hermitage, maybe to a hidden waterfall. Or maybe, just over the hill and back to the suburbs. But always leave something untouched, something unfinished just like the painter in this, you see, he leaves a lot of it untouched, and he doesn’t fill in all the details. So that your imagination can play with it but not the sort of imagination in which you actually in your mind’s eye fill in the empty spaces and see something that. This is something more suggestive than that you are on the brink of filling it in but you don’t do it. And therefore the quality of yugen prevails.
And then, very important for the atmosphere of tea, is a feeling that the Japanese call Sabi. Sometimes they put it together with the word wabi and say wabi sabi. Sabi is a feeling of solitariness, as distinct from loneliness. A person who is lonely, as I would use the word or as I am now using the word is unhappy about it and one’s friends and feels unloved and left out. But of course when you get many many friends and it all becomes rather too exciting then you look for solitude. Solid odd. And so Sabi has the meaning of solitude. But you must understand that the solitude of a hermit and this is [that] one of the great ideals of both Chinese and Japanese poetry is the mountain hermit. You know that famous poem. Looking for the master, it’s called. I asked the boy beneath the pines and he answered master’s gone alone, herb-gathering somewhere on the Mount cloud hidden whereabouts unknown. And you see, you have this magical evocation in the poem, of the old wise man who has a secret knowledge of herbal medicines, and he’s gone up into the mountains. Nobody knows where, above the clouds, following a trail with a long row of pine trees on either side, digging about in the bushes, and nobody knows where he is. And that altogether adds to his wisdom in some way it makes him a yugen quality, you see. But he’s also sabi, solitary. You see ever so many Chinese paintings of sages. Alone with a bottle of wine drinking under the moon. Or wandering along a lonely mountain path. And in such a crowded country as Japan, all kinds of stratagems exist for giving the illusion of solitude. And all sorts of politeness is exist so that people living together like sardines in a can can get psychological if not physical space around themselves. And manners, politeness, are a form of creating a way of creating psychological space. So, sabi is sometimes represented in the painting of a solitary crow on a branch. And when you… sometimes in the late autumn, you’re out in the fields in the evening and there’s just one crow, you know, goes overhead. You think maybe he’s going home maybe, maybe not. But that feeling of the one crow creates the sensation of sabi.
So for the tea ceremony, the whole setting in which it’s given is intended to create the sense of sabi. Our solitariness, of being away from it all. Now, today among the Americans, and indeed the British and I suppose the French and the Germans, sabi is regarded as a sort of escapism. If you go off to get away from it all, that’s a little bit ignoble. It’s like getting drunk to forget one’s miseries. And people are constantly lecturing each other on how they ought to face facts all the time. And because if you’re escaping, well an escape shows that you’re weak. It shows that you have a defective sense of social responsibility. I think this is a lot of nonsense.
We need to get away from it all, just as we need to sleep. And don’t please sleep because it’s good for you. And this whole thing that I was explaining this morning in connection with food about doing things because they’re good for you, is in fact not to do those things which are supposed to be good for you. If you get away from it all simply because you feel that you need a rest and this will help you to get back to work with greater vigor, you are not getting away from it all. If you play in order to do your work better, you are not playing. I had a friend who went to Japan with me last time, and she had a girl who worked with her in the same office. And she said, ‘Well now what did you learn from this trip?’ And she said well what difference did it make to your life? My friend said this made this difference that every morning at dawn I get up and I clap three times to the sun. That served her right, an answer like that. Because of this we have a terrible intensity of being useful, of being constructive. This dreadful word creativity is being kicked around, you see, or that you should be making the world a better place than when you came into it. Now that’s one of the ways to make it a little worse than when you came into it. It is necessary for us to their innocence and to let up and stop being on a special crusade to improve ourselves in the world. We should escape from that very often and not have any sense of guilt about it. Because when we carry on like this, with this crusading attitude that we’re always improving something always making it better and so on. It shows again our extraordinary lack of relationship to the physically existing universe right under our noses. We improve things before we even know what they are. And you know like you go to a foreign country and you take a superficial glance at it and say well they haven’t got this they haven’t got that them but the other thing and so immediately they have to have it. They don’t want it necessarily. A lot of people don’t want refrigerators don’t want television don’t want cars, because the moment they got all that they would be paying for it and they’d be in a rat race to make more money and then sell them faster ways of getting around still so that they could make more money to pay for those and so it all goes.
So please, for sabi, for solitude for a kind of delicious loneliness. Don’t feel guilty for going into it. Then, simplicity comes as next in the order of aesthetic canons. This is sometimes equated with poverty. Only poverty in a very special sense of the term rather like Franciscan poverty. There is you see such a thing as grinding poverty. Where people are starving and there’s nothing to eat. This is not that kind of poverty. It’s a different kind. Do you ever sometimes wake up in the morning in a hotel room and look around you and see there is nothing in sight that you own? It’s all rather a relief. Because you’re not responsible for it. And there is a kind of poverty you see, that really is equivalent to freedom. I’m not tied down with all these possessions. A rolling stone gathers no moss. He who travels light, travels fast. The first sort of satori experience I ever had was connected with poverty. Because what happened was that I abandoned and gave up all beliefs and threw the whole lot out of the window. And then came this sudden sense of sea of being immensely relieved. And I felt exactly as if I was leaves being blown along in the wind. You know how happy leaves in the autumn go down the sidewalk like children let out of school. Well I felt like one of those. You know, they can they go cart wheeling down t-t-t-t-t-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch.
So this is the sense of being the leaf. Of the drifter. In Japanese eighteenth century early nineteenth century there was what is called the Iko Oay attitude to life. Iko means floating world. And A, painting and so the great color print artist like hokus I and he or she get all represented in the Japanese Bohemianism Hokusai was a sort of very very high class bum. And they never saved any money, they didn’t have much, but what they had they spent, and they just went along to take each day as it came and not worrying. It’s amazing how you can get by with that you know. Something will turn up sort of thing because worrying about it makes very little difference to actually getting anything or getting anything done. It in rather on the contradicts in the way. So this attitude of the simplicity of poverty is to be free-floating, uncluttered. Now, as a matter of fact it isn’t always successful I’ve been in a tea master’s house. Where in the main rooms everything was beautifully shibui and empty and lovely spaces but my wife Jane-O was snooping around, and across the garden she went into a small tea room and saw there was a sliding screen at the back and she pushed it open and peeked inside and there was a great big room furnished in Western style, heaped with boxes and papers and mess all piled high. And the master was right by her, and he closed it, and he said oh no no no, you mustn’t see that. You see, in almost every household there is a closet skeletons and a sort of unconscious or repressed property where things have to be stored in case they come in useful someday. I don’t know if that can be avoided. It’s like the bag carried around by Hote, the fat laughing bum, and he is like a child because he picks up everything that’s at all interesting and puts it in the bag. But he gives it away to children. So he’s a sort of Far Eastern Santa Claus. Poverty is called in Zen, filling a well with snow. That is to say, and laying no claim to the meritorious deeds that you do. In other words in Zen Buddhism, you are not like most Buddhists trying to pile up good karma for your next incarnation and therefore doing all sorts of meritorious deeds in the hope that you will be rewarded in the next life. So, when the emperor Wu of Liyang interviewed Bodhidharma. The Emperor said, ‘We’ve endowed monasteries. And that ordered scriptures to be translated and done all this, and what merit?’ And Bodhidharma said None whatever. And the emperor horrified because he thought the whole point of part of Buddhism is acquiring merit so he said then what is the first principle of the sacred doctrine? And Bodhidharma replied in vast emptiness that is nothing sacred.
So that vast emptiness you see, again implies the idea of spiritual poverty. Or again simplicity it’s as if you see you you suddenly became simple. You don’t know your name. You don’t really live anywhere. You don’t claim anything, you’re not that anybody special you have no particular virtues no really sensational vices. Because that’s a way of recognition too. You just, you’re just what they call in Zen an unsui, that means cloud-water and is the name given to his Zen monk because he drifts like a cloud and flows like water. This you see, is the life of insecurity. The life of not constantly defending oneself by possessions against inevitable mortality. Because the world in Buddhism is seen as a flow, and get with it. Because if you resist it, you will be a mess. So this leads me to another quality. It’s called In Japanese furyu. It’s very difficult to translate it means literally wind flow. Although who, wind, has the general meaning also of atmosphere. What is your household wind means in Zen What is the particular style of your school of teaching. And so who has the same atmosphere of style. Ryu means flowing.
Now furyu is in the dictionary is translated as elegance. But this is misleading. Furyu is when, for example you see somebody fishing. Now of course, if he’s a serious fisherman he’s just fishing to catch fish. But there’s something kind of unconscious about that, in this is so often true you see that peasants don’t appreciate the countryside at all. I remember in England, the fields being filled by peasants who were wearing an old Sunday suit, black, with a striped shirt. With a collar button no collar and a derby hat, old derby hat and they looked about as incongruous, out in the countryside as you could imagine any good luck. You know no business while you were climbing the fields in the bowl of Derby.
So in this way, the peasant often doesn’t recognize what he’s got. And the fun of things, you see is to know it. So furyu is the fisherman for example, who is sitting there fishing in the evening, not seriously trying to catch fish, but just digging the seed. The quietness. That’s a kind of furyu. But basically it means, flowing. The style of life in which you flow with the Tao. A follower of the Tao is called a Taoyu, do it in Japanese Doyou in Chinese value and that’s a fun new for you in Chinese Fung you. But he who is flowing with the Tao, is the person who never forces an issue. This is very strange you find in life if you don’t go around forcing issues all the time, a lot of people will accuse you of irresponsibility. They’ll say, ‘Well now, if you leave you you’ve got to make up your mind, you’ve got to make a decision and if you don’t make a decision one way it will be made for you the other.’ Never this isn’t true. It’s very important sometimes not to decide, and to say let’s wait and see what happens don’t rush in to decide. Because there are more factors in any situation than you ever counted up. And you don’t know really which ones are going to be operative.
So, if you don’t force keys in locks you see. You always jiggle till they go of their own if you force it you’re liable to bend the key break the lock and goodness knows what else. So the furyu or furyu man, is a kind of high level drifter is very good. But you see it comes also to mean elegance which you see elegance is a word for highly conscious, almost affected beauty. The way we use elegant in saying of someone over he’s most elegant. So that means he’s too self-conscious. About so if we stop short at all of that meaning, even though a crude translation would tend to bring it to that, when we get to is right we require uncontrived elegance natural elegance as of a tiger.
And then there is another mood peculiarly related to poems of autumn, when one naturally has his mind on the dying year. Surrounded by all the gorgeous leaves, and some bare branches. Well when you turn the clock back you know. And it gets dark early. You feel the sort of sadness of the fall coming on. Entering into winter and this is called in Japanese aware. And this word aware isn’t quite nostalgia. It’s a feeling of sadness. Not as something unpleasant or that ought to be avoided but very good sadness a sort of wistful sadness at the dying of the foliage the end of the year, the end of human life. When it’s all going on. There is an English poem which mentions the strange atmosphere of a banquet hall deserted after the party, with all the plates strewn around and paper caps and blow whistles and everything’s got of the over the place and it’s forgotten and gone and everybody’s gone. There it remains and that evokes aware. The sigh in things the Japanese saying [Japanese] which means to penetrate to understand the a lot of things. There’s a Latin phrase Lacrimae Rerum the tears of things. When you see some object that belonged to someone you loved who is dead, and this evokes tears This is locked in my room. How pitiful some things are and even things that didn’t belong to anybody things thrown away. A doll discarded in the gutter. A thing that not just like a beer can you know but something that is pathetic, a thing that has become pathetic has Lacrimae rerum,and that’s aware. And aware is very much the mood as I indicated of autumn. And seventy ceremony one follows the seasons and has moods appropriate to the various seasons suggested by everything that you use. You arrange whenever you give an entertainment you think carefully about who’s coming about what their tastes are so far as you know them and you arrange all sorts of symbolic things supposing a person is born in the year of the tiger. Well you might very well have a plate with a tiger on it. There are all sorts of little things that touches like that that enter into this with the object are both pleasing and surprising your guest and bringing out all these various kinds of feeling and aesthetic appreciation that I’ve been discussing.
Now, are there any questions? Sabi is solitariness, peaceful solitude. You must remember..somebody in the previous session raised the question about the noises going on around here. Mr Rockefeller’s cars that are broadcasting so-called information, and all that going on. Now, I’ll give you an example of aware and sabi combined, which you can hear around here so often. You’re very quiet in the afternoon, and you may be sitting here very still, and you can hear the sound of somebody practicing the piano in the distance. And the music echoes through the buildings, or somebody is straining to sing and sounds as if he was being strangled you know, every so often. This terrible attempt to sing a tenor voice… play it all these things are funny they’re like cow bells in the mountains. And if there’s little noises that bing up the quiet there’s a Zen poem which says the wind has dropped but the flowers keep on falling the bird calls and the mountain becomes more mysterious. And it’s all those little far off sounds. That the hermit really gets to understand. The hermit might go into the hills, but as things become quiet around him he hears all the beads and insects. And very far away, the noises of human life.
And the whole point of becoming a hermit is to discover that you are inseparable from everything. There is no way of getting away, really. But you have to try to get away to find that out all. You’re in a complete continuum of life all the time. You cannot isolate one part of the universe from the rest. So as you live in your solitude, all these little things will gradually begin to come to you. Of course if you go a long long way away and so on it will be take longer for that murmur of human existence to reach you.