The Sliver of Absence

Ryoanji: An Assay
by Jane Hirshfield, from After

Wherever a person stands in the garden of Ryōan-ji, there is always a stone that cannot be seen. It is like the sliver of absence found on the face of a man who has glimpsed in himself a thing until then unknown. Inside the silence, just before he begins to weep. Not because of the thing he has learned — monstrous or saintly, it was always with him — but for the amplitude he hadn’t believed was there.