You say there are a thousand ways of seeing this moment but which is the real way? I respond there are a thousand ways of seeing this moment but which is the real way? You may take my place, you may look through my eyes, but you will still be blind to this moment or that.
A reflection on Case 95 of the Iron Flute Koans
When two students meet along the road, each acknowledges the other with the snap of fingers. When a student walks the Way to who does he snap his fingers and who passes with a small bow? If you happen across a teacher and ask him the meaning of this will you bow or snap and how will you respond to the silence that enfolds his answer.
A reflection on Case 87 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhism, Buddhist, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Travel, Zen
If you are able to speak
maintain silence, If you can bear the silence, listen to the song the sea sings. If you can sing with the sea count the grains of sand that wash in on the next wave. If you lose count, begin again before the wave recedes. If the wave recedes before you finish counting, bid it farewell. After you bid farewell return to your cushion and listen to the silence which is the body of the dharma.
First Published in The Poet: Faith Vol. 1, Spring 2021 https://www.thepoetmagazine.org/spring-2021—faith
Buddhism, Buddhist, meditation, men, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Uncategorized, Zen
You sit before him
an axe in his hand. He asks a question and says if you answer I will cut off your right hand, if you do not respond I will sever your left.
There is no sound
from the clock in the corner as you silently grab his axe and he smiles in deeply shared knowledge.
A reflection on Case 82 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Japan, Koan, language, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Poem, Religion, Uncategorized, Zen
to no one in particular “You may yet have the finest wine, but only when you have nothing will you taste it on your tongue.
A reflection on Case 10 of the Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate Koans)
Twenty thousand generations
a hundred hundred lives the briefest moment in being, there is no becoming, no leaving
and nothing is attained
for there is no need of attainment, Seijo whispered to no one.
A reflection on Case 9 of the Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate Koans)
Buddhism, Buddhist, Cosmology, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Photography, Poem, Religion, Time, Zen
If the student asks the teacher
for greater knowledge he will be met with a blow from the stick. If he asks again the teacher will respond I have nothing to give you. Will you recognize the greatest gift when it is offered to you or will you continue to pursue its shadow.
A reflection on Case 79 of the Iron Flute koans.
Buddhist, Cosmology, Japan, Koan, language, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Zen
It is only
in the deep stillness and silence of zazen that the words of the Dharma resound loudest
From the cushion
samadhi arises like a Phoenix takes wing and with the final bell all to often flies off mindlessly and it’s gone until the next sitting.
What were you doing
three days ago and what will you do three days from now. Are you the same person now as you were, will be?
While your face in the mirrorKoan
seems much the same each day you die a bit each day you are reborn. A thousand days a thousand years a passing moment, how do they differ?
A reflection on Case 68 of the Iron Flute Koans
If, sitting at your meal
you hear the song of a bird, what do you do? You may tap your chopstick rest, and perhaps he will answer and repeat his sweet song. If you tap a second time and there is only silence is the bird rejecting you or offering his song to another, flown from your window.
Perhaps you should tap again
and hear the sweeter song of silence that echoes over the garden and zendo. On a distant limb the small songbird smiles.
A reflection on Case 60 of the Iron Flute Koans.
birds, Food, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Nature, Philosophy, Poem, Religion, Zen