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The sound of the marketplace

Poems are not ephemeral things. At best they travel heart to heart. Maybe they can also bring forth true communion, the deepest form of communication. The finger that points at the moon becomes the moon itself.

Reading the various details of Dogen's life in 13th century Japan (a time of great turmoil and social change), of his travels to China, can illuminate his poems, tie them to moments of doubt, to moments of his own illuminations, in time and space.

From Dogen's collection of poetry:-

[i]Attaining the heart
Of the sutra,
The sounds of the
Bustling marketplace
Preach the Dharma[/i]

In my own Pure Land path of "no-calculation" the "marketplace" is the dojo (training ground), and everyone you meet is a "master". If not so, we can end up merely meeting ourselves, time and time again.

Moving back "west'......

James Joyce writes in "Ulysses":-

"God is a shout in the street"

From one or two commentaries on the works of James Joyce:-

[i]Bloom (Leopold Bloom of Ulysses) is no perfect hero, but perfection is overrated. Give me a honest human being embracing their mundane humanity any day over a person striving after perfection.

Joyce does not present us with the illusion of a perfect life in this book, a life without pain and sorrow, but in all his honesty Joyce shows us that life as it is and not as we think it should be is worth saying Yes to. The sorrows and difficulties faced in Ulysses are included in Joyce’s affirmation of life, because what good would such an affirmation be if it did not include all of life?

Joyce offers a new litmus test for what we call the hero, not gigantic feats of strength, but small and simple feats of kindness.

And finally:-

[i]An epiphany was not a miraculous dispensation from above but, as Joyce defined it, an insight into 'the soul of the commonest object'[/i]

(Kevin Birmingham, from "The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle For James Joyce's Ulysses.")

Simple feats and acts of kindness. So easy to miss, to become deaf and blind to.

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