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)
The epiphany comes,
he says with a smile,
when you first discover
the puzzle within the puzzle
and the hidden logic
finally triumphs. It is
always there, she notes,
right in the title
as clear to the eyes
as the nose
on the face of
who has no mirrors.
The true self
and this self
is not self,
is as it seems
for nothing is
and only seems
and so it is
so let go
of this self
though it was
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
The moment arrives suddenly
and appears at your feet, threatening
to trip you into the hole of time
that marks the edge of this moment
as it once did the one before this.
If you stand perfectly still
You may move forward with
the easy grace of enlightenment.
If you truly want to walk
in the footsteps of the Buddha
stand perfectly still and unmoving.
If you truly want to comprehend
the whole of the Dharma
put down all of your books and scrolls,
roll up your sleeves
and plant the barren fields,
clearing away rocks and stones.
If you want to taste enlightenment
dip your hands into
a free running stream
and drink of its waters.
If you feel you must move
along the Way, simply sit
and allow the Way to move beneath you.
A reflection on Case 12 of The Book of Equanimity (SHôYôROKU)