An Old Man Alone in the Morning

Ron Hogen Green
An Old Man Alone in the Morning

Ron Hogen Green, Sensei

Broadcasted from Hogen Sensei’s home in Pennsylvania, 10/23/2020

Rarely do we, as a society, intimately contemplate death. Even the minority of those seeking to uncover the nature of death may be doing so superficially. Hogen speaks of a renowned philosopher, who wrote many prized works on death. Yet in his final days, sensing the reality of life and death, he proclaimed them all worthless! Fortunately for Zen students, we don’t have to wait for our lives to end. We can practice and become intimate with life and death. Pulling from one of America’s great contemporary poets, Hogen Sensei supports and inspires our own reflection:

“There are questions that I no longer ask
and others that I have not asked for a long time
that I return to and dust off and discover
that I’m smiling and the question
has always been me and that it is
no question at all but that it means
different things at the same time
yes I am old now and I am the child
I remember what are called the old days and there is
no one to ask how they became the old days
and if I ask myself there is no answer
so this is old and what I have become
and the answer is something I would come to
later when I was old but this morning
is not old and I am the morning
in which the autumn leaves have no question
as the breeze passes through them and is gone” by W.S. Merwin

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