The young man asked the old Buddhist monk,
“If there are 64,000 gates, how will
I know through which I should enter.”
The monk paused, considered
the question, then smiled broadly.
“Why would you want to enter any gate?”
the monk said with a wink.
The young man replied, “because they
are the gates that lead to the dharma,
and that will lead to enlightenment,
so of course I want to enter the right one!”
“That is your mistake,” the monk
gently added, for there is no right gate,
they are all right gates, but your problem
is you want to go in through the gate,
but you must go out from where you are,
for that is how you enter the dharma.”
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
There will come a time
she says, when all of this
will matter greatly, the question
is how you will know
that moment has arrived.
I assume, he said, it will
announce itself, or at least
make its presence known.
No doubt, she replied, you
will search for it, but
just like me, you
will find it gone.
If the time is now
how will we know it.
And if we miss it
how will we know
what the consequences are?
The better question
is whether it matters
for if we can be
in each moment
to the extent possible
then nothing is missed
and every moment is now
and there is never
a forgotten memory.
There is much
you would ask
and so little
he would tell you.
But at the moment
that you fall silent,
when your last question
and you have no request –
in that moment
the Buddha will speak
freely and provide
to unthought-of questions.
The question is a simple one, really,
but not one you were expecting, which
is why you sit and grapple for an answer.
Ask yourself, what if no answer is needed,
what if there is no answer, can you
remain silent, or will you feel somehow
incomplete if you do not respond?
All answers are correct, but beware,
for all answers are incorrect as well.
Now consider the question again, carefully,
what do you respond when you are asked
once again, insistently, “who are you?”
Be very careful for if you gaze
into a mirror you will see someone else
and if you say that person is you,
you will most certainly disappear.
He is certain he has the answer
and is imply waiting for someone
to ask the correct question.
He knows he cannot be wrong
For if the answer seems so
it is only because the wrong
question was asked, and that
would hardly be his fault.
He tells people this, asking
that they carefully consider
what the right question would be.
Eventually someone always
gets it right, merely asks
“Are you crazy?” to which
he responds, “isn’t it obvious?”