There are those desperately searching,
who stumble along the way, tripping
over the dharma gems lying in their path.
Others proceed slowly, pausing
to examine each pebble, each twig
uncertain if it, just possibly,
was the key to enlightenment.
I wander along, going nowhere, knowing
that is where the path must lead,
and I am always where the path
and I must intersect in time and space.
A young child seeing this
merely smiles and returns
to his seat beneath the Bodhi tree.


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 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)



If you ask your question
you will find an answer
but ask another and the stick
will respond each time.
If you seek another teacher
will you change the question
or the answer, and does it matter.
Take up the stick, who
will you strike, your teacher
or yourself, and is there
any real difference?

A reflection on Case 27 of the Shobogenzo – Dogen’s True Dharma Eye