Fa-yen took the high seat before the mid-day meal to preach to his community. Raising his hand, he pointed to the blinds. Two monks went and rolled them up in the same manner. Fa-yen said, ‘One gains, one loses.’

~ Gateless Barrier, Case 26

Two pieces of news: One friend gains and the other friend loses. The teachings tell us, from the very first, there is nothing to gain and nothing to lose in all the universe. And that point is not so hard to see when the stakes are small, like when you drop your sandwich on the floor or hear a favorite love song. But how about when the game is at its most precious?

A few days ago I accompanied a friend to the doctor. Something had shown up in two brain scans that were concerning the doctors. After a month of worry and lost sleep, and bracing for bad news, we were in the surgeon’s office when an email came in. Earlier that morning another friend had been rear-ended by a drunk driver on the freeway, killing one young child and sending another to the ICU. We were absolutely devastated.

Minutes later, my first friend went in to see the surgeon and was told the potentially life-threatening anomalies in his brain were immaterial and that everything was ‘stone-cold normal.’

Knowing that the world is deeply at play and that in all the universe there is not the least bit of struggle ~ even knowing this ~ does not stop the tears. And why should it? We are, afterall, bodhisattvas, and the tracks of our tears hold a grace that is at once both wonderful and terrible.

Love this Smokey Robinson song: