Dogen’s Poem ‘Kyoto’

Is surely still ablaze with autumn.
In this deep mountain
It hailed this morning
It hails this evening

In this poem, Dogen contrasts the secular life – Kyoto- with the life of Zazen.

The image of the white hail falling on the white mountain, gives a sense of monotony, of sameness, of time passing slowly. We would rather be somewhere else, but we choose to be here.

Very often, it is the same familiar state that we keep returning to during Zazen, and it’s usually disagreeable: boredom, anxiety, disappointment, pain. Hail.

The ego is the membrane between the noise and this familiar state. But it is within this state, which we always wish vainly away, this darkness, that what we are seeking is concealed, concealed in plain sight.