Moss-covered Monk

Moss-covered Monk

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Delayed Daily Musing - February 4th, 2013 - Meaning - 意思 - Yìsi

Meaning - 意思 - Yìsi
  
The flood-
gates, unable to hold back 
a landslide 
from sweeping your life away.
Wrath of god? 
Roll of the dice?
Does knowing matter?

~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao

There once was a samurai by the name of Taira Masakado, who was declared a traitor and subsequently put to death. His severed head was hung from a tree in the ancient capital of Kyoto, purposefully desecrated in order to instill fear and intimidation. In the years following his execution, Masakado's head became reanimated and began a journey to the land of his birth, near modern day Tokyo. His head was enshrined, bestowed divine powers by priests, and acquired an otherworldly power to affect this world. Whenever Masakado's shrine was abandoned, moved, or otherwise desecrated, Masakado's ghost exacted revenge upon the human world. Numerous deaths, natural disasters, and maimings have been attributed to the vengeful ghost of Masakado, a man who has been dead for over a thousand years. Is this shared lunacy, or interpretations of subtle meanings to which we are not privy? Were these deaths the work of karma, the punishment of vengeful gods, or shoddy construction and unfortunate accidents? No one knows, but many venture a guess. 

Whatever is said says more about your attitude towards nature, reality, and the gods than it does about the event itself. Do you believe that God(s) intervene in human affairs? If you insist that there is a reason for every deadly lightning strike, than you live in a prison-world, subject to the emotional whims of a supreme being. If, however, you accept random tragedy as simply that, then you can try to move forward in the world. You cannot reverse the hands of time, nor can you backtrack on a chain of causality. Such a belief does not preclude the notion of divine beings. It merely states that not everything in nature follows the instruction of heavenly bureaucracy

In India, a seaside temple was once hit by lightning and the dome split in two. Many councils were convened to determine the divine significance of the event. All that was determined was this - lightning split the temple. The meaning - if there was any - was determined by each participant, by each witness. One sees disaster, another a chance for rebirth, and a third, dispassionate and decidedly nonreligious, simple physics. There is nothing inherent in the event which dictates meaning. It is up to each of us to recognize what happened for ourselves.