Five Things was written on 23 October 2001. The text is Thomas Cleary's translation* of a Song Dynasty (10th to 13th century) letter to a Zen Master Xiang:
- What has been long neglected cannot be restored immediately.
- Ills that have been accumulating for a long time cannot be cleared away immediately.
- One cannot enjoy oneself forever.
- Human emotions cannot be just.
- Calamity cannot be avoided by trying to run away from it.
Anyone who has realized these five things can be in the world without misery.
Here is a live recording, performed by the Robin Cox Ensemble on clarinet, cello, and woodblock, with me doing the text:
Here is a score of the piece in pdf format. While I originally envisioned it for flute, bassoon, and woodblock, I'm open to you reorchestrating it for your ensemble; let me know what you have in mind.
The visual artist Judson Wright has made a video to accompany live performances of the piece. Please contact me for more information about the video.
And you are warmly invited to support this very low-key way of publishing:
* From Zen Lessons, translated by Thomas Cleary, © 1989 by Thomas Cleary. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA. www.shambhala.com.