If called before the Master will you walk from east to west to the Master’s Smile, or west to east, to a sudden frown. Will you approach the Master bowing with words of gratitude only to receive a blow of the stick or seeking instruction in your failure to an equal blow of the stick.
Ponder this carefully: what is the answer? I leave you the stick to reach a conclusion.
A reflection on Case 50 of the Iron Flute Koans
Seeing your teacher on the road
if he says to you Honorable Sir, what do you do? You may turn, bow, and act the fool or pass, eyes averted without acknowledgement, silent equally the fool.
Speak in silence,
face, bow without moving greet him as you do yourself in the morning mirror and once past, offer gassho and the fool is left on the path dragging your shadow.
A reflection on Case 55 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Cosmology, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Mystical, Philosophy, Poem, Religion, Travel, Uncategorized, Zen
In setting along the path
do you follow Hofuku covering your eyes so as not to see evil, ears so as not to hear it and close your mind to wandering ideas or is Jizo’s path yours as well?
With eyes shut tight
the mind will still see, with ears covered sound will echo, growing louder with no hope of escape. With open eyes light is reflected, with ears open fully, sound passes freely and flitters away and the empty bowl is filled with potential.
A reflection on Case 48 of the Iron Flute Koans.
Buddhist, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Mystical, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Uncategorized, Zen
Eyes can look within
and discover a boundless universe but the tongue alone can speak only sounds that go false as they dance away unseen.
The silence of zazen
speaks the dharma, the teisho is offered mutely.
The space between
eye and tongue is but three inches or an unbridgeable void.
A reflection on Case 15 of the Iron Flute Koans.
Buddhist, Japan, Koan, language, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, psychology, Religion, Zen
shun the city, flee the towns and find a home in the forest only in the deepest part of winter, but do not shun people in your solitude.
of total silence and dig deeply into newly fallen snow. Let it drift over you until you black hair is all that appears on an endless field of white.
A reflection on case 14 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Nature, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, seasons, weather, winter, Zen
If you answer the question
I will ask you another each more difficult.
If you enter a room
and catalog its contents there will always be a door leading to yet another room, another inventory to be taken to determine what is there and what is missing.
It is only when you enter
an empty room, that you will find all things.
A reflection on Case 28 of the Iron Flute Koans
When you visit a teacher
inquire what he needs and freely offer him a meal, but ask nothing in return, if you pester him he will greet you with a blow of the stick.
Come to him silently
with an open heart and with empty hands and the Dharma will be transmitted.
A reflection on case 54 of the Iron Flute Koans
While out for a walk
on a sun filled Spring day if you happen across the Buddha how will you recognize him?
If you offer gassho
to Buddha surely it will be returned, but is it he or merely your reflection off the surface of a still pond? Does this matter to you?
A reflection on case 45 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Koan, meditation, mind, Nature, Philosophy, Poem, Religion, seasons, Spring, Zen
When your mind is raging
thoughts flowing, eddying when you enter the zendo what do you do in sitting?
Do you take your stick
and measure the water to insure a safe fording, or do you sit amid the stream and let the flood wash over and around you dry and silent within?
A reflection on Case 36 of the Iron Flute Koans
When the master
calls for a novice
do you answer?
When the inkin
bell is struck
do you begin
or end zazen?
As you follow your breath
when do you leave
your body, and who
returns when you next inhale?
for an answer
that has no question.
Who is the novice now?
A reflection on case 31 of the Iron Flute Koans