Peaceful Life

Peaceful Life, a poem by Katagiri Roshi

Being told that it’s impossible,
One believes, in despair, “Is that so?”
Being told that it is possible,
One believe, in excitement, “That’s right.”
But whichever is chosen,
It doesn’t not fit one’s heart neatly.

Being asked, What is unfitting?”
I don’t know what it is.
But my heart knows somehow.
I feel an irresistible desire to know.
What a mystery “human” is!

As to this mystery:
Knowing how to live
Knowing how to walk with people….

The full poem can be found here:

Possible or impossible; which is it?

Katagiri Roshi was the teacher of the Minnesota Zen Center for many years, until he died in 1990.

This is a poem about saying “Yes!” to our lives, to the mystery, the messiness, the love, the impossibility of being a human being.

It is a poem about stopping, and appreciating, ourselves, each other, our work; and going beyond ourselves. Stopping, being changed, and getting back to work.

The poem goes on to present and encourage living with a vow, or more strongly, living a life of vow, stronger than intention; stronger than a promise. A vow to live a peaceful life, to help others live peaceful lives:

To aspire
To be resolute

Today, I let these words wash over me, through me.