breathing mu

Gathas on fear by Robert Aitken Roshi from The Dragon Who Never Sleeps

When I catch myself blowing smoke
I vow with all beings
to clean the air by confessing
the smoke doesn’t cover my fear.


When fear seems overwhelming
I vow with all beings
to face this last great barrier:
it’s terror of death I feel.

When fear seems overwhelming
I vow with all beings
to relinquish even my fear
and die, once and for all.

When fear feels overwhelming
I vow with all beings
to walk through this ancient valley
breathing Mu right to the end.


When I read about levels of insight
I vow with all beings
to return the book to the bookcase.
“Oh Bosh,” as Grandma would say.

For a lovely memorial to Aitken Roshi, please go here.

Have a fearless weekend and thank you for practising,

Genju

4 thoughts on “breathing mu

  1. Thank you for publishing these gathas, Genju. I couldn’t figure out how to include this book in this week’s posts, but that’s just a failure of insight on my part. These short poems are so profoundly moving.

    • My pleasure, Barry. Your posts this week have been so gentle in offering Aitken Roshi’s teachings. Roshi Joan read a few of his gathas at the memorial service and it reminded me of his book. These just felt right given the theme of fearlessness on 108ZB this week.

  2. When I catch myself blowing smoke
    I vow with all beings
    to clean the air by confessing
    the smoke doesn’t cover my fear.

    There is something in this verse that especially speaks to me, a smidge of humour laced with the truth. And that final image says it all! Thanks for this.

    • It went on first because it resonated with me deeply too. Yes, that last pix is quite the visual catch, isn’t it! Can you believe the pueblo inhabitants lived in the space opened through those holes?

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