If you must follow the Way, you may read the Dharma for hours on end or you may brew a pot of tea for your teacher, or bring your student a towel and basin. Which two steps along the way will you take?
A reflection on Case 61 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps so, but many pictures don’t travel in verbose company, and there are pictures worth far, far less, although some will search until the magic thousand are found. In Japan a story can be told in seventeen syllables, a picture painted with a single brushstroke. In the zendo the whole of dharma can be heard in the silence if you stop and listen.
As you wander around looking for a place to build a temple, looking for eden, looking for nirvana, stop and simply sit, listen to the breeze teaching you the Dharma, the clouds chanting the sutras in a harmony beyond your hearing. Look down for you are in your temple, sitting in eden nirvana at your feet.
A reflection on case 4 of the Book of Equanimity Koans
When the master takes his seat what do you expect of him? Do you watch his posture or how his hands are set. Do you stare at his lips and what do you hear when they move, but no sound comes from his throat. Listen carefully, for here the dharma unfolds like the first chrysanthemum.
A reflection on Case 79 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)
If you fall, 20,000 arms will lift you up, when you sit 10,000 join the Sangha. If you walk barefoot in the snow I will put socks on my feet for you. If you hunger, I will give you an empty bowl and this will be our shared dharma.
A reflection on Case 47 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)