Dharani of Being Different

Dharani, the root of which is dhr, “to hold” or “to convey,” is ordinarily translated by the Chinese tsung-ch‘ih, “general holder,” or neng-ch‘ih, “that which holds.” A dharani is considered as holding magical power in it or bearing deep meaning. When it is pronounced, whatever evil spirits there are ready to interfere with the spiritual effect of a ritual, are kept away from it. —D. T. Suzuki, Manual of Zen Buddhism, 21.

Bless those whose conversation is over your head; bless them and keep them from harm, for they might be more intelligent than you although they are not as sure of it as they’d like to be. Admire them and bless them and wish them strength. But hold your own; and do not copy them. Think first; hold your own; you are different; you would lose yourself, although they do not, by indulging in such unimportant things. You have your own ways and must hold your own. Bless those, too, who pass you on the street; bless them in their cars as they roar by you. They have nothing to say and must try to forget it; they are full of noise and must flaunt it, so admire them and bless them; they are troubled. But hold your peace, and do not pursue them. Please, hold your peace; you are not one of them. Although you might follow them into their cars and enclaves you would have nothing to say to them, and they would not understand your silence. Hold this silence; this is your silence, the silence in which you do not speak when spoken to, the silence in which you bite your lip, for if you spoke your words would taunt you and beg for promises you could not keep.

21 July 1981