An Ancient Said

Two-thirds of a lifetime has swiftly gone.
On the spiritual foundation not a single speck has been polished.
While indulging, life randomly passes day after day.
If you are called but do not turn around, what can be done?

This poem is found towards the end of the Tenzokyokun, and Dogen does not attribute it beyond the three words I used for the title. It has always been a striking poem for me, speaking of the urgency of the great matter.
Earlier in the week it occurred to me that today was the anniversary of my first arrival in San Francisco, eighteen years ago now, on my way from New York, heading towards Sydney; here just a week, not imagining I would return, let alone spend a portion of my life here. That portion has now amounted to a third of my life (the other two-thirds can be evenly divided into my childhood-and-school years, and my college-and-London years). As I dwelt on that, I had the further thought that it would be plausible to estimate that I am currently two-thirds of the way through my life. Swiftly gone indeed.

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