The barn burnt down…along the roadside…blossoming wild roses…

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by Mizuta Masahide
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by Bashō

The Timelessness of Cloud Root


I saw this rich contemplative drawing at the British Museum earlier this year.

The drawing came with the following description – The concept of cloud root fuses dualities: the ephemeral (clouds) and the eternal (rock). Yet it is only because of our limited experience of time that they appear to us as opposites. Rocks change shape driven by natural forces just as clouds do.

It’s a wonderful teaching of Temporality – how death awaits us all levelling things out in the end. Our universal common heritage, where we’re all in the queue but just don’t know exactly when it will be our time. And yet when dissolution does occur how this affirms our primordial bond with the elements of this planet. Flesh and bones breakdown into dust feeding the earth and the air that we once breathed and animated us returns silently to the sky all above.

This drawing also reminds me that when the veil is lifted from a limited dualistic experience of time things appear naturally as they are; as an interconnectedness with other life forms where we share a kinship of timelessness.