11 Jul
Posted in: Books, Poems
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Meditation On Walking

Today’s post is from Verses from the Center, written by Nagarjuna (2nd century C.E.), translated by Stephen Batchelor. (The pronoun change is mine.)


I do not walk between
The step already taken
And the one I’m yet to take,
Which both are motionless.

Is walking not the motion
Between one step and the next?
What moves between them?
Could I not move as I walk?

If I move when I walk,
There would be two motions:
One moving me and one my feet–
Two of us stroll by.

There is no walking without walkers,
And no walkers without walking.
Can I say that walkers walk?
Couldn’t I say they don’t?

Walking does not start
In steps taken or to come
Or in the act itself.
When does it begin?

Before I raise a foot,
Is there motion,
A step taken or to come
Whence walking could begin?

What has gone?
What moves?
What is to come?

Can I speak of walkers,
When neither walking,
Steps taken nor to come ever end?

Were walking and walker one,
I would be unable to tell them apart;
Were they different,
There would be walkers who do not walk.

These moving feet reveal a walker
But did not start her on her way.
There was no walker prior to departure.
Who was going where? 

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