When two students meet along the road, each acknowledges the other with the snap of fingers. When a student walks the Way to who does he snap his fingers and who passes with a small bow? If you happen across a teacher and ask him the meaning of this will you bow or snap and how will you respond to the silence that enfolds his answer.
A reflection on Case 87 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhism, Buddhist, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Travel, Zen
If you claim
this world weighs heavily on you, and ask what to do you will be told to simply sit. If this is not clear to you you may say so.
When you carry
another world to this place you will understand and be weightless
Bow before a king
and you may be rewarded but bow before a teacher and expect to be shunned. Which has something to offer? Ask the teacher why he shuns you and he will turn you away.
One offers a bit of gold,
one offers a priceless gem. Gold can buy you many things but the gem is worthless to all but he to who it is given. Pick carefully, for here the fool and wise man walk separate paths.
A reflection on Case 81 of the Iron Flute Koans
You sit before him
an axe in his hand. He asks a question and says if you answer I will cut off your right hand, if you do not respond I will sever your left.
There is no sound
from the clock in the corner as you silently grab his axe and he smiles in deeply shared knowledge.
A reflection on Case 82 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Japan, Koan, language, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Poem, Religion, Uncategorized, Zen
If the student asks the teacher
for greater knowledge he will be met with a blow from the stick. If he asks again the teacher will respond I have nothing to give you. Will you recognize the greatest gift when it is offered to you or will you continue to pursue its shadow.
A reflection on Case 79 of the Iron Flute koans.
Buddhist, Cosmology, Japan, Koan, language, meditation, mind, Philosophy, Photography, Poem, Religion, Zen
If Kyosei asks
from where I have come how will I answer him? If he asks where my teacher lives what will I tell him?
Such a fool I am
to wander from there to here from here to another place seeking a path on which I am always standing still. Thirty blows is the least I deserve. But Kyosei withdraws the stick.
A reflection on Case 64 of the Iron Flute Koans
Both the great ape and the chimpanzee
say they have been horribly maligned by Buddhist teachers of all people.
They point out that they have been
meditating since the Buddha sat beneath the bodhi tree and was enlightened.
They are capable of deep thought,
are clearly as sentient as people, they claim with some evidence in support.
Why is it, they ask, that we refer
to the unsettled state of the mind when sitting in zazen as monkey mind
when it is plainly apparent to all,
human and simian that the obstacle in zazen is actually a case of human mind.
Seeing your teacher on the road
if he says to you Honorable Sir, what do you do? You may turn, bow, and act the fool or pass, eyes averted without acknowledgement, silent equally the fool.
Speak in silence,
face, bow without moving greet him as you do yourself in the morning mirror and once past, offer gassho and the fool is left on the path dragging your shadow.
A reflection on Case 55 of the Iron Flute Koans
Buddhist, Cosmology, Japan, Koan, meditation, mind, Mystical, Philosophy, Poem, Religion, Travel, Uncategorized, Zen
You may come asking questions,
and perhaps the teacher will answer you with a discourse. If you go deaf and hear nothing, if the words flit like so many mayflies just as soon gone, if no word finds purchase you will have a grasp the heart of the Dharma.
A reflection on Case 54 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo (The True Dharma Eye)
When you visit a teacher
inquire what he needs and freely offer him a meal, but ask nothing in return, if you pester him he will greet you with a blow of the stick.
Come to him silently
with an open heart and with empty hands and the Dharma will be transmitted.
A reflection on case 54 of the Iron Flute Koans