The Grief and the Grievance, Part 1
“Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand.” C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
“Though he had such painful experiences, Sawaki Roshi said that he did not really see impermanence; rather, he only worried about who would feed and raise him.” Shohaku Okamura
Grief is a portal, a truth that is experienced over and over again. Loss. Birth, sickness, old age and death. These are the certainties: the human condition for suffering, pain, despair. And yet, as we go about our lives, we tend to forget. Or, at least I do. Until we can’t.
Please read further, if you are inclined, the comments by Kodo Sawaki Roshi (trans. by Shohaku Okamura) on impermanance:
As a child, Dogen, so the history goes, was inspired to practice on seeing the incense smoke at his mother’s funeral.
Myself, I am a slow learner. Very slow. Are there griefs, perhaps not recognized in early Japanese Zen, that we might consider? In the next post, I write about race and grief.