Joshu's Dog

Yesterday, while I was making dinner, the pug wanted to go outside. I let him out and watched him for a moment, struck by how pale his fur looked in the dim light of the evening and the stiffness of his back legs as he walked along the sidewalk, sniffing the tall grass along either side. Naturally, of course, this lead me to the most dreadful of places for any sentient being.

He too will die.

Sometimes that’s an overwhelming thought. It’s a thought like a hook, baited with a worm, that catches a small fish, that in turn catches a bigger fish, that in turn catches another even bigger fish, until finally the weight of the pole threatens to drag you into a pond full of fish, and we all know that fish are thoughts not worth thinking unless you purposefully enjoy courting worry, don’t we?.

The thing that usually breaks this for me, and it’s what I’ve been ruminating on all day, is a koan from The Gateless Gate called Joshu’s Dog: “Does a dog have Buddha-nature?”

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