Zen is not useful.  It won’t make you smart.  It won’t make you beautiful.  It won’t entertain you.  

Zen is alive.

The Great Ancestor Koun Ejo wrote: "The great earth, a single mass of fire."

These words remind how foolish it is to try and keep from getting burned. Body burns brightly! Mind burns brightly!

Internal combustion engines harness the explosion, push the rider to a destination. Timing is crucial. Tick... Tick... Tick... One thing precisely after the other. It keeps the wheels in motion, the subject alert to its object. No rest is possible or ... BAM! The backfire calls attention to failure. Wow, what amazing power, 8 cylinder determination! But it has a cost of thick steel containment, a massive hole in the mountain, grinding and smelting and casting. What shape does the prison take?

A thought of liberation burns. Saving the world, pouring flames upon flames, is a sure way to feel the heat. No excuse to turn away or back off. What is it like when you can't help someone in desperate need? Now I can't help myself. Insatiable appetites for flame. We rip them off in chunks with our teeth, pretending they are "good plans" or a "reasonable approach". Old Fire Mouth speaks the truth. Now we fall with the Venerable Ananda into the realm of the hungry ghosts. Where else could bodhisattvas stand?

The eyes of dancing flame are deeply clear... and inviting. The green shoots are the brilliant spring.