When you ask how you can get from where you are to Nirvana a wise teacher will tell you there is no there. There is only here and this is Nirvana. Then he will ask you the greater question– who are you really? How will you answer?
A reflection on Case 31 of the Book of Equanimity (従容錄, Shōyōroku)
He said he sent God an email but got no response until, after three days, he got a bounce back saying the account had been closed for lack of payment. A few hours on the internet yielded a heavenly website, and after another hour digging down into the site map, he found a tiny hot link to the Contact Us page, and there a phone number he immediately called. What could be better than asking God directly, he figured. He should have known better, and did when on the third ring the phone was answered and the recording began, “For Jewish, Press 1; for Catholic and most Protestants, Press 2; for Muslims, Press 3; For atheists and non-believers, Press 4. He pressed two and was told the office was only open for calls on Sunday from 6 AM until noon, and occasional Saturday afternoons. Unsatisfied he called back, pressed 1 and learned the phone would only be answered Friday night or Saturday, though he doubted anyone worked then. He tried 4 on the next call and was transferred to a line that seemed to be answered in Norwegian by someone who he thought said was in the branch office in Stjordal in Nord-Trondelag. The afternoon was growing short and he realized he didn’t really care about the answer, wasn’t sure he’d believe it anyway.
When you come before your teacher and he asks you what is it exactly that you are looking for, what is it that you expect finally to attain, how will you answer him? If you say you are seeking enlightenment, he will laugh and send you away, but if you answer that you do not know, he will hand you an empty bowl and tell you to go fill it.
A reflection on Case 20 of the Book of Equanimity ( 従容錄, Shōyōroku)
If I ask you a where you are standing what will you answer? If I ask you where I am standing what will you answer? If I ask you a if we are standing in the same place and you answer yes a blow from the stick, if you answer no a blow from the stick, if you answer nothing a blow from the stick.
A reflection on Case 69 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Charma Eye)
If you go in search of the way, you may come across a sage. He will ask you why you seek it. If you answer, he will strike a deadly blow, if you do not answer he will strike a deadly blow. Grasp his arms and carry him with you.
A reflection on Case 73 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye) Koans
There are so many questions for which I have never gotten an answer. What, for instance, does one who is lactose intolerant cry over? If the rest is history, can’t we just stop now and read it later? And if every cloud has that silver lining, it has been well seeded, so why isn’t it raining? If you sleep on the left side of the bed, do you always get up on the wrong side? And when I answer your next question, I will start by saying “to be dishonest with you.” What will you do with that, Epimenides?