Falls a maple leaf

//Falls a maple leaf

Falls a maple leaf

Amid the bustle of worldly affairs, summer is hot and cool, dry and wet, clear and overcast, day and night…
I’m like that, too, one activity, another activity, and another… The papers are full of it, and the garden, too, in full bloom, and me.
News arrives by phone of a sudden grave illness in someone most dear. There is uncertainty and no small drama in the tale, leaving me anxious day to day until the reports of health improving. The fatal danger has been avoided. All is heading toward well.
But I had recalled the last words she had said to me at our final meeting, only days before: Don’t identify with anything.
What better parting words?
I think of Ryokan’s death poem:
Showing now its front side,
Now its back,
Falls a maple leaf.

By | 2017-04-04T06:58:21+01:00 juillet 27th, 2009|Textes|12 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. michelange 31 juillet 2009 at 12 h 49 min - Reply

    I was there during this drama. This drama was a humbling beautiful lesson in the power of this community, in the pricelessness of this beginningless dialogue that I have had the great dumb luck to have stumbled across, to be an eyewitness to, indeed a participant in. This "thread of commentary" is a conversation so much bigger and smaller than all of us that its unsettling and reassuring all at the same time. It literally brings out the best, in spite of us. This has been a life changing summer for me. Thank every one of you.

    As Henry James transmitted to James Baldwin and he down to us,

    ""I am the man, I suffered, I was there."

    your friend,


  2. Ting 30 juillet 2009 at 22 h 36 min - Reply

    And this feeling in our hearts/body; what is it made of?
    Words? “With no small drama in the tale”?

    In fact I don’t know the story of the grave illness of this person (a “she” who apparently is “OK” now).
    I’m in the luxurious position of not knowing.
    I feel and I am that not knowing.

  3. some one 30 juillet 2009 at 20 h 37 min - Reply

    a lot of words – so whise

    just the courrage to feel what’s realy in our hearts/body
    wether it should be there as "advanced or less advanced " bouddhist or not
    and stick with it – and be it

  4. Tu es cela 30 juillet 2009 at 7 h 55 min - Reply

    Seems (almost) strange to quote Dogen: "Life-and-death, as it is, is Buddha life."
    Some people write, some sit, some are young, some are old, some sick, some tired, some busy, some bored, some dance, some fall, front side, back side… just this, just this, just this…

  5. wilem.. 29 juillet 2009 at 20 h 13 min - Reply

    I pray for Roshi and Wish good health.." Don’t identify with anything " leaves one completely jokerish.. Kanzeon Bo Sa.. x Ciao Sensei..

  6. Ting 29 juillet 2009 at 14 h 17 min - Reply

    The real disaster- I suppose – is if we lose the spirit of liberation.
    In that spirit the tree is dead as can be, but she’s OK.

  7. who? 29 juillet 2009 at 10 h 15 min - Reply

    dear Ting,

    what i mean is no commerce

    it is about being there – being one.

    Just a dead tree. No big disaster?
    No little disaster either?
    It just is?

  8. Ting 29 juillet 2009 at 6 h 27 min - Reply

    I appreciate the thought, Who, but it won’t do any good.
    The tree is as dead as can be.

  9. who? 28 juillet 2009 at 23 h 16 min - Reply

    Let us sit for her, all in our own places, all one with her –

  10. Ting 28 juillet 2009 at 21 h 04 min - Reply

    Good to hear that.

    The maple however has died.
    The leaves curled up and dropped down. The branches turned white.

    It was a young and beautiful tree. We gave it some fertilizer in early spring and the leaves simply burst out and we could watch the tree growing.
    Because we were so happy and this fertilizer seemed to work so well we gave it a bit more.
    Then it died.

    I suppose we killed the tree by setting our expectations too high.
    It wanted to grow, and it did.
    But we interfered – with the best of intentions- and robbed its freedom to mature in its own pace.

    Just a dead tree; no big disaster. But the lesson is important.

  11. tu es cela 28 juillet 2009 at 20 h 23 min - Reply

    She’s OK.

  12. some one 28 juillet 2009 at 0 h 32 min - Reply

    there isn’t anything wrong with Roshi, no? Tell me there isn’t!

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