illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
In Japanese poetry and old letters, wet sleeves are a reference to crying, i.e. to suffering: in the post shared below, Ryokan states that 'knowing' of impermanence is not enough to actually step beyond dukkha.
'Realising' (the truth of) impermanence is beyond words, beyond merely 'knowing'.
"Realising impermanence", while accepting reality as it is, is akin to "embracing impermanence": impermanence is a source of suffering when one tries to hold on to what one knows, what one likes and has acquired, what one dislikes and has avoided… but impermanence also is a source of bliss when one uses it to influence the world constructively without fear of the unknown, or to cease unwholesome tendencies and nurture wholesome tendencies…
Without lust nor aversion for impermanence, one can experience freedom from it (impermanence no longer dictates your acts due to the feelings and preferences it generates).
"Realising impermanence", while accepting reality as it is, is akin to "embracing impermanence": impermanence itself doesn't lead to suffering, dukkha arises solely from ignorantly relating to impermanence (seeing impermanence as a curse against 'knowing', an enemy against 'clinging').
The combination of clinging/knowing with impermanence is painful, but we can let go of clinging/knowing, so we can cease dukkha.
'Ignorance' consists in confusing this strategy of letting go of clinging with the other apparent strategy: continuing the clinging and trying to get rid of impermanence, i.e. trying to control conditioned phenomena, trying to force the world to comply with our (individual) wishes…
'Wisdom' lies in recognising that one of these two strategies is indeed possible (no one says 'easy'), while the other strategy simply doesn't even approach "reality as it is".
Not-knowing doesn't lead to apathy; on the contrary, it leads to engagement without requesting guarantees (i.e. without seeking early reassurances that one will succeed, even before one actually performs one's best to wholesomely respond to the situation at hand).
#Buddhism #Dharma #Zen
by Thomas Fraser:
"Although from the beginning
the world is impermanent,
not a moment passes
when my sleeves are dry."
- Daigu Ryokan