The person in the hut lives here calmly,
not stuck to inside, outside, or in-between.
Places worldly people live, he doesn?t live.
Realms worldly people love, she doesn?t love.
Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
In ten feet square, an old man illumines forms and their nature.
A Mahayana bodhisattva trusts without doubt.
Sekito has got it. What is it? As much as anybody here, the freedom of no choice.
Of course, you-me-he-she, we all make choices, for instance we live with a certain idea of time, we see space and measure it, we also see others as being friends, collegues, students, teachers...Not being stuck means not being trapped in the delusion that self and others are seperate, that this and that work apart. We live in the relative, we breathe, eat and move in this idea, because it is just an idea, that there is morning and evening and yet we can never loose track of the wider perspective, the timeless perspective. Our way is to experience the limited, bounded and seemingly very structured reality with a boundless open mind. So we carry on every single duty, do the chores, go to work, live in the market place but truly, we are also in the hut, we are the hut, beyond form and emptiness.
Once you realize this, you may use every fragment of Samsara, every distraction, every thought as a wonderful way to come back home. And there is no need to make it to the woods or live in an ermitage far far away.The relative world is not experienced anymore as an hindrance or obstacle but as a pointer to our true nature. One step beyond, and the very body of Samsara might be seen as just the liberated field. The skill, as is to make use of the dual, to completely accept its game without being caught into it. To surf the waves in order to taste the sea. This constant movement to and fro from delusion to open space is our practice itself. One way to enterely miss the point of this poem is to read it as pure-solitary-natural practice versus soiled-wordly-arificial life. The invitation is to make the hut where we are, and not get stuck in one specific realm or world. To truly manifest the wisdom of what Japanese tradition call unsui, a mind live flowing water, not abiding. Hence the true nature of our freedom, although small and square, our true home is home to the entire reality. The activity is to illumine. Of course, it is to see through the real nature of things which is sunnyata, impermanence, empty because changing constantly. In ten feet square is on the spot, where we are, be it a shed or a palace, a kitchen or a garden, the subway or in the air. Ten feet square is that everything is available now, and you may practice everywhere and manifest the true light of shikantaza. Nothing else is required than this simple life, imperfect as it is, broken and soiled. No more excuses is the outcome of trust. You trust you can do it so you give the ten thousands good reasons not to practice a rest. To be a bodhisatva is just to practice and take your hut with you wherever we go.