one continuous mistake


When we reflect on what we are doing in our everyday life, we are always ashamed of ourselves….  Dogen-zenji said, “Shoshaku jushaku…”  (It) means “to succeed wrong with wrong, ” or one continuous mistake.  According to Dogen, one continuous mistake can also be Zen.  (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki)

I’ve been looking over my calligraphy.  “One continuous mistake” seems to sum it up. That’s not a bad thing at all.  In fact, it’s probably the one thing I feel I’ve actually achieved: make that single line of errors and step back to actually see it.  Sometimes, I laugh at myself wholeheartedly, there are all 108 lines overwhelming the paper.  Many single continuous humilities to step back from!

Kaz Tanahashi does incredible things with one single line, one brush stroke – though I’d have a hard time calling his single-stroke paintings ‘mistakes.’  Kaz sensei also said one day that it’s not whether something is perfect or imperfect. It’s about being complete.  An enso, Kaz sensei said, is completeComplete because it contains everything: the perfect and the imperfect.

I like that.  Much as I have no association with the little demon, hope, that gives me hope.  I am complete: containing  the perfect and imperfect.

So are you.

Thank you for practicing,



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