Song of Freedom breakdown, line 1

Have you ever seen one of the Way?

I want to dance all over this line. How appropriate that this song begins with a question. This question sets up the whole song.

This makes me think of the old stories of the Zen Master who says “answer yes or no! If you answer yes I will give you thirty blows, if you answer no I will give you thirty blows.

At first look it might be like asking if you have ever met someone who is enlightened.
What a funny question, what a profound question. When we say the way it could be synonymous with Zen or Tao.

So just who is a person of the way?

What makes someone a person of the way?

When is someone a person of the way?

How would you know a person of the way?

Why is there a person of the way?

If we have some idealized vision of what a person of the way is we are on our way to suffer. *

You may say that there is one thing that makes a person of the way, and that one thing is everything, or nothing. Or everything including nothing. (Confused yet? You may want to look into the heart sutra [every day for a few years.])

A person of the way is a person of the way in the past present and future. I have actually seen this. You probably have too. **

You can know a person of the way by finding a mirror. ***

There is a person of the way because there can not be a person not of the way. It is there weather you want to believe in it or not.

*if I can learn from a child I will, if I can teach on oldster I will. Everyone (and everything along with nothing) is potentially both a student and a master, even if they don’t know it.

**when we reflect we see that everything that has been leads us to now.

*** There are a lot of mirrors. Teachers, students, the fat guy who hangs out on the corner, books, practice (Zazen for me), that thing you call you, and an actual mirror.

I welcome comments but I may integrate them into the commentary.
I know that you know all of this already.

I hope that my efforts are helpful in clearing my own delusion as well as that of others.



Anonymous said...

I think you've mis-understood it (or maybe I have)....

The question sets up the rest of the song. He then goes on to answer and explore the question:

"Beyond action and beyond learning,
one is at ease,...."

In Taoism the concept is that "The Way" 'begins' with some sort of enlightenment - some sort of realisation into the nature of things.

From (ISTR) Chaung Tzu: "Enlightenment is important to the way. How else would one start the journey?"

SlowZen said...


Yes, The question sets up the rest of the song. But my methodology is to go line by line. And I am not too eager to jump so far ahead.

I was hoping to convey to the reader exactly what you are alluding too. Keeping the line by line methodology in mind, please look carefully one more time and if you still feel the same way, help me with the word smithing without giving away the pearl.


Anonymous said...

What I think is not important!

Write using your own words. There is no point in anything else. If I were to start 'helping' with the writing then something would be lost and your own voice would be distorted.

SlowZen said...


Your already helping, and have been for some time.


oxeye said...

jordan - looking forward to reading your comments on this.. I finally got around to reading the song from start to finish.. I can understand your enthusiasm for it. It is light as a feather and heavy as a mountain.. Thank you for bringing it to us.

"names and catagories and being without them have nothing to do with perfect knowing."

Carol said...

This is very interesting and very deep! Don't know if I can follow the whole thing but generally I think we are all of the way if only because we're in the way!

oxeye said...

jordan - I have been thinking about the small insights that occur during zazen and how quickly they pass and are seemingly gone. but I guess we never really forget anything.

still, sometimes I want to grab and hold a thought.. but that isn't the way.

just an fyi.. bought a book by the artist Robert Irwin. the title is: "Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees." Isn't that a great title?

SlowZen said...

In the very beginning of that book you have, the author describes a unique experience.

Someone else always sees a gap. I always see connections. weird eh?

Regarding the desire to hold on:
There is a Chinese proverb, "ride the Dragon!" The dragon represents change. Change is constantly occurring, nothing we can do will stop it. How can we really hold on to anything but change?

General Krulak was always telling people "Ne Crass, Ne Crass" Latin for not like yesterday. He was trying to get the Marine Corps ready for the 21st century and a-symmetrical warfare back in the mid 90's. To bad allot of folks were not ready to embrace change.

Sorry if that did not make sense, just something I have been holding on to lately. (smile)

Thank you for your comments,


I think you have already got it!


Thanks for looking!