Mōanjō (A Safe Staff for the Blind) – Part 1-1 Reflection

Suzuki Shōsan

Suzuki Shōsan

1. We must know without a doubt that joy lies in knowing birth and death.

tulip petals dying beside vase

Now, the truth that all who are born must die is upon our lips, but we do not realize it in our hearts.

baby lying on blanket smiling

Youth is soon over, the hair turns white, wrinkles furrow the brow, the physical body declines day by day, and with every sunrise and sunset our dewdrop life approaches its term.

old man's face

This never astonishes us, however.

Last year gives way to this, spring passes and fall comes, yet we do not understand what is meant by the scattering of the blossoms and the falling of the leaves.

fallen leaves

Though sparks from the flint flash before our eyes we do not grasp that they are transient, illusions.

fire with sparks flying up

Truly, even those who wear around their neck the robe and bowl, who enter the way of renunciation and who thus seek to know the emptiness of all phenomena, in the end find it hard to rid themselves of the profound urge toward permanence of being.

bridge at sunset


And how true it is. Each and every day, we are surrounded by evidence and proof of our impermanence.

Yet, we overlook it, ignore it, pretend it doesn’t matter.

Or that we can escape it. Even those who have devoted themselves to a Higher Path… even they still cling to life.

And who wouldn’t? It’s what we do.




This version of Mōanjō is based on The Selected Writings of Suzuki Shōsan