WITHOUT WITHIN

When you peer through the glass
are you looking out, or
are you looking in, and how
would you know which is true,
and does it matter.
When you walk through a gate
are you entering or leaving.
If you ask where the gate
is located, you cannot find
where you are going,
for all gates lead nowhere
except where you are,
and if you are not at the gate
you might as well
just look through a window
and ask yourself should you
look in or out of the window
to find the missing gate?

GENSHA’S BLANK PAPER 鐵笛倒吹 四十九

If you ask me
to write on paper all
that I know of zen
I will hand to you
three empty sheets.
Study them carefully
for upon them
the Dharma waits
to be seen.

I will draw you a circle
almost complete
a bounded space
having neither inside
nor outside, another
gateless gate.


A reflection on Case 49 of the Iron Flute (Tetteki Tosui)