MU

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
Schroedinger’s cat.


Musing on Case 1 of the Mumonkan

JOSHU’S DWELLING 鐵笛倒吹 七十

 

If a poor man offers you
the finest diamond
do you take it, and what
of the gift of a crust of bread
from the wealthy man.
Each gift, in its way,
is worthy of rejection.

Once I grasped at great thoughts –
now I can forget my own name
and wonder whose face it is
that I see in the mirror.


A reflection on Case 70 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki tōsui).

JOSHU’S FOUR GATES 正法眼蔵 四十六

If you ask me who I am,
I will have you close your eyes
and walk behind you,
or I may step to your left
and take your right hand.
If you are perplexed,
I will ask you: do the four
gates open into the city
or out to the world beyond,
and if I stand still under a gate
in which direction
am I headed?


A reflection on Case 46 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)

LISTENING TO THE FLUTE

YAKUSAN HOLDS IT         鐵笛倒吹

 Sit just above
the peak of the highest mountain
and reach up with open fingers,
what will you grasp?
Walk slowly across
the floor of  the deepest sea,
what do you see below you?

If you have
three daughters
is any one
less beautiful
than the others?

 

JOSHU COVERS HIS HEAD         鐵笛倒吹 十一

 When you enter a room
and sit with your teacher
what is it you expect?
He will not follow your breath
nor should you count his,
simply cover your head
and retreat.

He will offer nothing
and that is
quite everything
you require.