Basho at last gave Hyakujo’s nose a sharp pinch. Hyakujo cried out with pain.
Basho said, “There, how can it fly away?”
Existence cannot go anywhere. It is always here. How can it fly away and where? It is everywhere. That small it contains the whole.
And Basho is the past master because it began with him that he started hitting his disciples, slapping his disciples, pinching their noses.
Words have failed…what to do? The disciple has to be brought to his senses! Basho gave a sharp pinch to Hyakujo’s nose. Hyakujo cried out with pain. Rather than sympathizing or being compassionate,
Basho said, “There…”
Pain brings you here. Pain has a certain quality, the same as pleasure; they bring you here. And a sharp pinch on the nose and Basho asked, “There, when the nose is hurting how can it fly away?”
Setcho comments – his commentaries are becoming better every day:
“The wild duck! What, how, and where?”
In existence everything is formal: today somebody is alive and tomorrow he is gone. Who was he? Where was he and where has he gone? The flower that was dancing in the wind just now is no longer there – all the petals have withered away. From where did that flower come? From where to where has it gone? What was it? Certainly it was not just the petals. It was a certain expression of existence. It was real; it was not a dream.
It came out from nowhere.
It remained in nowhere.
It has gone into nowhere.
I would suggest to you again to break that word in two: make it now-here – just a small hyphen. That is the meaning of nowhere. Now-here – put together it becomes nowhere, but looked at deeply, now and here are the realities. Perhaps you cannot see it now. It has entered into its own essence.
Again will come the spring and again will come the flower.
It has been coming again and again and going again and again back into its invisible house – the essence.