TE SHAN CARRYING HIS BUNDLE

Enter the room slowly and look carefully,
since you are here to find something.
There is much within this room, but you
can see nothing save the old man,
sitting calmly, staring at nothing, staring
through you at nothing in particular.
You know he is the teacher, the one
for whom you have been searching,
Still, he ignores you, staring at nothing.
You walk around the room, from end
to end to end to end and he does
not move or speak, and so you leave.

He has given a great lesson, do you
appreciate what he has taught you?
You walk away angrily, say that he
is no teacher at all, that you are no
closer to enlightenment leaving
than when you entered, for you
found nothing but yourself.
As you leave the old man bows
as teachers do to Buddhas.


A reflection on Case 4 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record)

MORNING MEDITATION

Settling into perfect
stillness, each of us
in our brown robes
on brown chairs, benches,
cushions, note his entry
is somewhere between
the thundering of a forgotten
storm or the garbage trucks
crawling slowly down the street.
Despite the early morning heat
there is no breeze,
only a large moth
comes through the open windows
and dances around
the rice paper light shades.
The incense hangs
over the burner on the altar
waiting to be carried into the room.
You return to thoughts
of thoughtlessness,
invite ideas to come
and quickly leave.
You grow heavy
sinking into the earth,
your weight suddenly great.
The moth grows bored
and slips out the window.

PACIFYING THE MIND OF THE SECOND PATRIARCH

Sitting on the cushion
staring at the wall yet again,
the wall seems familiar, as if you
should know it, the paint, the fleck
of something embedded in the paint.
Still you search for something beyond
the wall, hidden by the paint,
but you find nothing, always nothing.
Does this nothing finding frustrate you?
Are you certain there is something
there to be found, eluding you?
Be like Huike, for if you cannot
see the wall, cannot find the paint,
the universe that lies behind it
will be exposed to your view.
Simply close your eyes and see it.


A reflection on Case 1 of the Shumon Kattoshu