Saturday, March 9, 2013

An acknowledgement of what?

Hello Eric, Laura, Will, Pat, Matt, Louie et al.,
We are having cold nights, clear and star-filled and the days are
growing longer and a tad warmer. Birds are arriving, the witch hazel
is finished blooming and some bulbs are pushing through the dark dirt.
Our Branching Moon sesshin, too, is nearing and already I can feel the
difference in the Mountain Lamp zendo. Sitting is a little crisper and
the desire to deepen and clarify the great matter is more palatable. I
am happy and encouraged by that.

If we had to say one thing about koan zen, which actually shouldn't be
different than non-koan zen, it would be that it is presentational. It
is not explanatory. It isn't 'like' or 'about' something. Quiet and
deep sitting isn't like a bottomless ocean or the deep blue sky. It is
the very depths of the ocean and it is the vastness of the blue sky.
Koan zen isn't about dependent origination, emptiness or oneness. It
is watering the flowers, caring for the chickens and chopping
vegetables for the noon meal. This is why, in dokusan, a student
doesn't tell about practice, about insights or interesting
observations. The student shows her practice in the bows, in opening
and closing the doors, in how the footsteps fall and in intimate

You present yourself. And as importantly, you present the entire world
as your very own self. This allows each thing to realize itself
through you, as you. This is a great responsibility. The mountains
realize themselves through you, as you. The birds similarly...and the
trees, bushes, rocks and stones. Each thing through you, as you. Yet
clearly, by investigating today's case, by looking deeply at the
interplay between Shakyamuni and Mahakasyapa, there is also a great
joy sitting right next to the responsibility. Twirling a flower,
twinkling an eye, and smiling; this is child's play. They are being
playful because this is, all of it, a great play. And each one of us,
occupying our own unique dharma position, has an ever changing part in

There may be a beginning and end in this play of fullness but really
there isn't a past, present or future. At times, you are sitting at
Vulture Peak twirling a flower. At other instances, you smile; and at
others, you are utterly confounded by the goings-on. All of us are
entwined, entangled in this glorious play of life and death and
sometimes when we look at our own hand, we see the hand of the Buddha
but at other times, a donkey's leg looks like our own. To think,
however, that one view or sensation is better or worse than the other,
completely misses the point. Twinkling, smiling, confounded. Donkey,
you, me, Buddha. Each unique, each transmitting, each being
transmitted to, each confounded. What a play. What joy. What

Because it is a great responsibility, the World Honored One said, "I
have the treasury of the true dharma eye and the wonderful mind of
Nirvana. I entrust this Mahakasyapa." The treasury of the true dharma
eye is Shobogenzo where Sho means true, right or correct and Bo is
dharma. Gen is eye and Zo is treasury or storehouse. Cleary, Cook,
Aitken and I have different combinations, different translations. How
would you translate Shobogenzo? That is what is being transmitted. And
though that is what is being transmitted, in actuality, nothing is
being transmitted. We all have the same treasure. We occupy the same
storehouse. So there is nothing to be given that hasn't already been
received, but there is an acknowledgement. And I'll leave you with acknowledgement of what?

Enjoy your time together


1 comment :

Please comment using an account or a name from the 'Comment as' menu. Your comment will be published after it is approved (anti-spam process), usually within 24 hours.