ON THE ROAD TO NIRVANA

S: What are you doing, for heaven sake?
H: Isn’t it obvious, I’m searching
     for Nirvana, for enlightenment.
S: You silly fool, it’s right behind you!
H: (turning suddenly) It is not,
     I would certainly see it.
S: You might think so, but
     it is still right behind you!
H: But why, tell me, can’t I see it?
S: Because you’re looking for it
     always peering outward,
     but if you look inward
     behind your eyes, you
     won’t be able to miss it.

WHO?

I was looking for you, he said,
and I was looking for myself
she replied, and here we are
and neither of us has succeeded
in our quest, for I have not
found myself, so you cannot find me.
I shall stop looking for you, he said
and perhaps you will appear.
for I am ready if you choose to.
I have found myself, finally,
she replied, but how long
have you been standing there
and what were you doing
since I last saw you?

WHO WILL BE KING?

Tell me what you see, he says,
and be as precise as possible.
I suppose I see exactly what you see,
we are looking at the same thing,
at the same time, so how can it be
any different for me then you?
Are you seeing through my eyes?
He smiles, for if so, I’d like you
to get out of my head immediately,
it is already too crowded in here.
You have a pondering look, you probably
want to know why I would like
you tell me what you see.
See, I have only one working eye
and in the kingdom in which we find ourselves,
that hardly makes me King.

THE SKY ABOVE

Only in New York will you find a giraffe looking up at taller buildings
and not thinking this the least bit strange. People always look up at
buildings and it is never strange, but people know that giraffes must
be different and their looking up is by its very nature strange. Giraffes
look down at people as well. This is not strange, and people accept this
although they are usually not pleased. People do not like being looked
down upon. Not even by giraffes.

TWO JOURNEYS THROUGH THE GATE

Tosotsu’s Three Barriers          無門關 四十七
Before you sit Tosotsu’s three mountains
how will you traverse them,
legless on your zafu?

Look within your mind,
search diligently, for when
you find nothing, all
is laid out before you.
Confuse life and death
for one is the other,
the other the one.
Search no longer
for the destination
look only at your feet
and chew, don’t gulp your meal.
Kempo’s One Road           無門關 四十八
Above you, Buddhas
below you, Buddhas
in each direction, Buddhas,
but which Buddha marks the way?

Follow a line from head
to foot and you
will see the way.

Look within, for your
highest self, search
to the thirty-third heaven
and if you should see
that self, greet him
with the strike of a fan
or the kyosaku and prepare
to be washed by
torrents of rain.


Reflections on Mumonkan Cases 47 and 48.