NANSEN’S REJECTIONS 鐵笛倒吹 四十四

 

If you come before Master Nansen,
will you come holding the posture
of a monk or a lay person,
and when Nansen turns you away,
how will you exit the room?

Nested hands
and gassho hands –
both are so easily manacled –
why leave the room at all?


A reflection on case 44 of the Iron Flute (Tetteki tōsui 鐵笛倒吹)

NANSEN’S REJECTIONS 鐵笛倒吹 四十四

If you come before Master Nansen
will you come holding the posture
of a monk or a lay person
and when Nansen turns you away
how will you exit the room?

Nested hands
and gassho hands
both are so easily manacled,
why leave the room at all?


A reflection on case 44 of the Iron Flute (Tetteki Tosui)

ISAN’S TIME 鐵笛倒吹 十六

A cold day —
how many other winters
can you remember,
how many future winters
can your mind grasp?

Can you hold yesterday
in the palm of your hand
can you wrap tomorrow
around your thumb?

Between the palms
in gassho
lies all life and being.


A reflection on case 10 of the Iron Flute.

NO TWO

If you ask me whether
a dog has Buddha nature,
I will stare back at you
in total silence.
If you ask again,
or implore an answer,
I will smile at you,
offer gassho and a bow.
If you ask yet again,
I will turn away
and you will be left
with a box into which
you dare not look
lest you find
Schrodinger’s cat.


Musing on case 1 of the Gateless Gate (Mumonkan)

GOLDEN MIRAGE

Another day attempts
to slide by in the shadows,
avoiding capture by pen and
journal, fleeing into night
where November clouds
provide infinite hiding places.
Or, perhaps, it will find shelter
in the blinding golden glare
of Pan Wat Lao Buddhadam,
that appears mystically
out of the Henrietta field.
It’s monk smiles, knowing
so very little English,
and I not a word of Lao.
But our gassho brings
the smile of the Buddha
and that, we both understand,
knows no language barriers.