To aspire to anything is already limited by my capacity of what I can imagine. Daido Roshi taught that there is no hope. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Dante contends that the lowest level of hell is frozen. The Buddha taught that life is not moving but is movement itself. Yet, I get lost in movement that turns towards ice and becomes immobility. Where do I freeze? Certainty, timidity, non-acceptance, greed. Hell is not accepting where I find myself. We vow to let go of desires, but we have to actually know what it is that moves us and how it touches us to make that vow in any real sort of way. I aspire to patience, but I never could have imagined what it would be like to have two small children howling at my leg and tugging my body in opposite directions. I aspire to generosity, but I never imagined what it would be like to sit with a traumatized client and listen to what I fear hearing. What is my aspiration? To turn towards movement—to move, without chaos, without rigidity, without fear, and without hope.

—Lisa Kyojo Smith, MRO


As a child, the height of the mountains, the shape of clouds, the touch of wind, and the patterns of the stars felt good in my body. Don’t forget this.

I aspire to seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing and feeling my life, the lives of others.

I aspire to hold, work through, and bear witness to the knots of pain in my life, the lives of others.

Zazen. Get up very early in the morning and sit.

When I feel lost (and this can be often), I aspire to wonder about feeling lost.

Sometimes I wish I could do things that were bad for me and most of the time I don’t do them.

I will die.

I aspire to be kind and honest with my family, friends and the people with whom I work. I am inspired by the kindness I receive from my family, friends and the people with whom I work.

Zazen. Wonder about the world.

—Thayer Kyusan Case, MRO