A friend emailed me this quote from Pablo Neruda:
To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses–that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.
(Pablo Neruda, Neruda and Vallejo: Selected Poems)
In a commentary to a case in the Blue Cliff Record, Yuanwu asks:
But tell me, what is the most essential place? How is effort applied?
(Yuanwu, “The Blue Cliff Record”, Case 55, tr. Cleary and Cleary)
I would say the place is where I am, and the effort is feeling “the affection that comes from those whom we do not know”, so to speak. When that affection shapes the breath in and the breath out, zazen sits zazen.