When you assume the mat
and gaze at the wall,
what is it you see?
If you see nothing,
what do you think?
If you are certain
that you see nothing,
that is what you think.
Do not see, do not think,
and let the cushion
fall away until the moment
you no longer exist,
but let the moment
fall away as well
and there is only
the emptiness of peace.
A reflection on case 17 of the Entangling Vines Koans
Today I will hope to master,
if only for a brief moment, not
not being attached to thoughts,
but recognizing them and letting them pass,
since the thought of recognition must
replace the thought that was recognized,
not trying for anything on the cushion
including not trying to not try
for anything for that is the only way
that you can find nothing, which
is what you were trying for in the first place,
not putting into words concepts
which must by their nature defy language
but rather assuming the position
and just let things
He sits on the cushion
staring through hooded eyes
at the wall in front of him.
He expects exactly nothing to happen,
expects there to be no sound
within his mind, only what
happens without, expects that time
will cease for him, or
will at least cease to matter.
He is not disappointed.
The bell rings, he arises,
and walks back into the world
where everything happens,
there is only sound, and
he stares at his watch knowing
time has moved on in ways
he can never hope to fully grasp.
Settling into perfect
stillness, each of us
in our brown robes
on brown chairs, benches,
cushions, note his entry
is somewhere between
the thundering of a forgotten
storm or the garbage trucks
crawling slowly down the street.
Despite the early morning heat
there is no breeze,
only a large moth
comes through the open windows
and dances around
the rice paper light shades.
The incense hangs
over the burner on the altar
waiting to be carried into the room.
You return to thoughts
invite ideas to come
and quickly leave.
You grow heavy
sinking into the earth,
your weight suddenly great.
The moth grows bored
and slips out the window.
Sitting on the cushion
staring at the wall yet again,
the wall seems familiar, as if you
should know it, the paint, the fleck
of something embedded in the paint.
Still you search for something beyond
the wall, hidden by the paint,
but you find nothing, always nothing.
Does this nothing finding frustrate you?
Are you certain there is something
there to be found, eluding you?
Be like Huike, for if you cannot
see the wall, cannot find the paint,
the universe that lies behind it
will be exposed to your view.
Simply close your eyes and see it.
A reflection on Case 1 of the Shumon Kattoshu