Autumn eve — please turn to me.
I, too, am a stranger. Basho
Zen is an effort to make you fully aware of your strangeness. This will give you freedom from the crowd. This will give you a sense of being yourself, a deep intensity of consciousness that you are surrounded by a strange world where everybody is a stranger.
It has many deeper implications. If you can understand the fact that everybody is a stranger, all your expectations will drop. Who are you to expect? A husband expects certain things from the wife. He has forgotten the fact that the wife is a stranger. We have just met on the way, talked a little bit, walked together on the way, and we have forgotten the fact that we are still strangers.
We don’t know ourselves, how can we know others? But on the surface, we try to make familiarity, we try to forget the fearsome idea that we are alone. The wife, the children, the Rotary Club…somewhere we want to be associated. We don’t want to stand alone in deep freedom under the sky, and dance under the sun and the rain. No, we simply want a coziness with the crowd, we want to disappear in the crowd; it feels warmer there.
It is not without any reason that Jesus could call people sheep, and himself the shepherd — and nobody objected. This is strange: Jesus was crucified, but nobody ever objected to any of his teachings, and nobody ever argued against him.
The reality seems to be that people accepted it deep down themselves that they were nothing but sheep, they needed a crowd to surround them, they could not move alone in an unknown territory. Nobody stood up to Jesus, and said to him, “You are insulting humanity. You are humiliating us by being a shepherd and making us sheep.”
That nobody objected makes it clear that the people felt he was right, “We need a crowd.”
Basho is saying
please turn to me
you are not the only stranger here
I, too, am a stranger.