From Ineffability, Simplicity and the Pleasure of Bitterness. Letter to students Therapeia 2 2018
In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. If discrimination is long, it will spoil. When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.
When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side. Yamamoto Tsunetomo,‘Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai. p33,
Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige’s wall there was this one: ‘Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.’ …Among one’s affairs, there should not be more than two or three matters of what one would call great concern. If these are deliberated upon during ordinary times, they can be understood. Thinking about things previously and then handling them lightly when the time comes is what this is all about. To face an event and solve it lightly is difficult if you are not resolved beforehand, and there will always be uncertainty in hitting your mark. However, if the foundation is laid previously, you can think of the saying, ‘Matters of great concern should be treated lightly,’ as your own basis for action.” Yamamoto Tsunetomo,‘Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai. 53
In this drifting, wandering world,
it is very difficult to cut off our human ties.
Now I cast them away, and enter true activity.
It is in this way that I express my gratitude.
As I shave my head, I vow to live a life of
simplicity, service, stability, selflessness
and to accomplish the Buddha’s Way.
May I manifest my life with wisdom and compassion
and realize the Tathagata’s true teaching.
John Daido Loori Roshi
“What does it mean to follow the breath?”
“Sometimes you’re with the breath; other times you’re not.
When you find you’re not with the breath, come back to the breath.”
‘Simple, like uncarved wood.’ Tao Te Ching. Ch 15. ‘‘Simplicity’ here is the translation of the character Pu (朴or樸), which is also translated as ‘uncarved wood’ or ‘inherent quality’. It is a metaphor for the natural state of humanity or the Tao.’
“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
Tao Te Ching. Ch 67
Some interesting translation variations:
Simple is not easy. Everyone knows that.
What you might not know is that thousands of people on hundreds of websites earn a living by telling other people that simple is not easy. Business management, trading, investment, software development, leadership, personal growth, self help, recovery programmes, shopping, diet, biology, interior design, lifestyle, sports, advertising, marketing, crowdfunding, reading, painting, marriage, schooling, family dynamics, religious faith and love are only the first few sites found where the hook is ‘Simple is not easy. But I will show you the easy way’, when everyone already knows there is no easy way.
https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=simple+is+not+easy&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 or type ‘simple is not easy’ on your server.
It is not the hook, nor the bait that catches the fish. It is the fish’s hunger.
Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes the World. p17-38.p