If you ask 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 sideways under a gate in which direction am I headed?
A reflection on case 46 of Dogen’s True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo).
If you are truly looking for the way why do you insist on using your eyes. Any teacher will tell you that your eyes see nothing, they are only lenses through which a delusion is created in the mind. The mind has no eyes, but it is all that enables you to see anything. So abandon the eyes that see nothing, and the mind that only thinks it sees. Settle on the cushion until you and the earth and the sky are one, indistinguishable from each other, and everything, which is nothing, will appear before you if only you refuse to acknowledge it.
A reflection on Case 4 of the Bring Me the Rhinoceros koans.
When you sit before the master he will ask you a question. Consider your answer carefully then offer it to the master. He will simply say, “correct.” Later, when you sit before the master he will ask you the same question. Offer your answer to the master. He will simply say “incorrect.” If you ask him how your answer can be both correct and incorrect, the master will look through you, and simply smile and say “Correct”.
A reflection on case 31 of the Blue Cliff Record koans.
If I ask you to bring me an atom of oxygen, where will you search for it, how will you isolate it, so that you have captured a single atom that you can bring in response to my request? It may take some time and great effort to satisfy my desire. Or you may simply smile and tell me to breathe and choose the atom I wish from the multitude you have provided.
A reflection on case 3 of Bring Me the Rhinoceros (koans).
If I receive warm under robes to ease my winter meditation I will refuse them. If you ask me why, I will say I was born with such robes as I need. If you ask what I wore before birth I shall remain silent.
In the deepest winter there is no chill that can reach the empty mind for it is full of a warmth that cannot be replaced and one needs no shelter, for ashes know no temperature.