TEACHING AND NOT TEACHING

We walk forwards
to try to see
where we are going,
always wanting
but never seeing
where we have been.
Is it better to
walk backward
seeing clearly
where we will not go
without idea
of a destination.
Look down and decide.


A reflection on Case 92 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye)

 

MINISTER PEIXIU SEES A PORTRAIT

You are perpetually searching,
but what is it you seek?
If you say it is wisdom,
how will you know it
if it finds you?
You may look
in a thousand mirrors
and no mind
will be seen
in none of them.
You are an oyster,
where is the pearl?


A reflection on Case 9 of the Shobogenzo, the True Dharma Eye

HUANG PO’S GOBBLERS OF DREGS

The old monk, leaning on his cane
smiled at the man prostrating himself
before the great Buddha repeatedly.
The monk gently interrupted the man,
“what is it you hope to achieve
by all of these prostrations, you clearly
are seeking something, you clearly
have not found what you are seeking.”
“I am seeking the wisdom that only
the great Buddha can provide,”
the man said, looking into the eyes
of the old monk, who only smiled.
The monk reached within his robe,
pulled out a mirror and held it
in front of the man, who stared
deeply into it, smiled and walked away.
The monk prostrated himself three times
to the great Golden Buddha, who smiled.



A reflection on Case 11 of the Shobogenzo

SHISHUANG’S THIS SIDE AND THAT SIDE

You like being here, but
you suspect you would like being there
as well, if not more than being here.
This puzzles you, for you fear
leaving here to go there, in case
when you arrive there you don’t like
being there and would rather be here.
You should sit and ponder which
is better for you, here or there,
even though you cannot be certain
just what is there, or what
there will be here if you go there.
But if you do go there, there will
then be here, and here will then be there.
Now consider why must here and there
be different, since there contains here,
and here is most all of there.
This question is a naked singularity
and deep within it lies
everywhere you ought to be.


A reflection on Case 89 of the Shobogenzo