May 19, Harada Roshi Guidance #28

Ryokan says:

“Without intending it, the flower attracts the butterfly.
Without intending it, the butterfly approaches the flower.
I do not know the other
The other does not know me.
We naturally follow the universal way
When we meet, we do so without intending it.”

The flower did not call the butterfly, yet when it blossoms the butterflies gather. Does the butterfly come to greet the flower? When butterflies fly, that is when the flowers blossom. I do not know the other, they do not know me.

This poem has a deep sense. The butterfly and the flower did not decide to meet one another, yet how did it come about? They meet. The seasons change, the karma brings forth connections to other humans, this is one happening, which can be called: empty minded karmic connection.

Empty minded is a state of mind when we do not have a plan to do a certain thing and still our functioning arises.

Many people are infected by the virus, which is deeply sad, yet so many people have recovered. We do not want to get into such a situation, yet it may happen. Whether we see it as good or bad is up to our state of mind.

We may be on a train, people are sitting next to us, the scenery is constantly changing, why is this one person sitting next to me? Why is this other person standing in front of me? We do not know one another, if we think about it, it is rather strange. It may be predestined, the law of an imaginary god, yet in zen this imaginary god is called the law of karmic connection. This is where Ryokan puts it well.

Our encounters are not just created by a god. There is a cause for our encounter which is connected by “invisible strings” to the outcome. Ryokan says that we naturally follow a universal way. Ryokan does not leave it at a curiously arising encounter, instead he says it depends on our karmic connections.

In Europe at the entrance to a town it says:

Giving the traveler a place to rest, the visitor a smile, and for the departing we wish happiness. We pray for the good for those who need to go. 

When we encounter we have such a precious opportunity to give life to this, to bring forth our wisdom, constantly we need to look sharply at this.