The young man asked the old Buddhist monk,
“If there are 64,000 gates, how will
I know through which I should enter.”
The monk paused, considered
the question, then smiled broadly.
“Why would you want to enter any gate?”
the monk said with a wink.
The young man replied, “because they
are the gates that lead to the dharma,
and that will lead to enlightenment,
so of course I want to enter the right one!”
“That is your mistake,” the monk
gently added, for there is no right gate,
they are all right gates, but your problem
is you want to go in through the gate,
but you must go out from where you are,
for that is how you enter the dharma.”



If you answer the question
I will ask you another
each more difficult.

If you enter a room
and catalog its contents
there will always be a door
leading to yet another room,
another inventory to be taken
to determine what is there
and what is missing.

It is only when you enter
an empty room,
that you will find all things.

A reflection on case 28 of the Iron Flute Koans


If you ask the teacher
where you can find the key
to enlightenment, what
do you do when the teacher
stares back at you in silence.

If the teacher asks you
where he can find the key
to enlightenment, do you
tell him that he possesses it,
and if you do, will he
simply stare back in silence.

Stop and consider,
have you both answered correctly,
or is the silence the key?

A reflection on case 164 of The True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo)


All things are born and die
so if this world dies at the end
of its cycle of life and we
are here, do we die with this world
and which of us
will be first reborn.
Only when the mind collapses
is the world born
only when the mind collapses
does the world die.

A reflection on Case 24 of the True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo)

THREE CALLS 鐵笛倒吹 三十九

If your name is called
how do you answer?
If it is called again
and then again, will
your answer always
be exactly the same,
or will you grow angry
and deny even yourself?

Surely your teacher
knows who you are
but knowing yourself,
that is the highest mountain
you will be asked to climb.

A reflection on case 39 of the Iron Flute Koans