The whole meaning of your life rests in the current matter. —Mazu
The whole meaning of my life is sitting here writing this copy for the newsletter? I would have hoped for more. Maybe I need to look into what “whole meaning” means. There’s another conversation that involves Mazu that seems to throw some light on it:
Someone asked, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?”
Mazu responded, “What does this mean, here and now?”
Other times, Mazu answered the same question various ways such as:
“What is the meaning of your asking at this moment?”
“I’m not in the mood today. Go and ask Zhizang.”
“Come a little nearer, and I’ll tell you.” When the student went over to Mazu,
Mazu kicked them so hard that they fell over.
Mazu kept silent.
“Rush flowers, willow catkins, bamboo needle, and hemp thread.”
Perhaps we can get a better sense of what “meaning” means by appreciating that all of the above responses are not ways of avoiding answering the question or even answers to the question, they are living, breathing, experiences of the answer.
When I think about it that way, writing this copy for the newsletter being the whole meaning of my life is not such a bad thing. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of great.
—David Weinstein, October 31st, 2023
David Weinstein Roshi, Director of Rockridge Meditation Community