If your teacher asks you to bring him all of the Dharma you have learned what will you bring him? If you begin to recite what you know of the sutras he will turn away and cover his ears. If you sit next to him in silence he will smile.
A reflection on Case 25 of the Book of Equanimity, 従容錄, Shōyōroku
When you approach the teacher what is it that you expect from her? If you ask her to show you the way she will sit and face the wall in silence. What will you learn from this? If you are facing the wall in silence you shout your answer.
A reflection on Case 23 of the Book of Equanimity ( 従容錄, Shōyōroku)
With knowledge comes something but I cannot remember what my mother told me it was, or perhaps it was a teacher who said it, but I can’t hope to tell which one it was, I cannot remember some of their names or in what grade it might have been said. I don’t think it was in college or graduate school since by then it was assumed we knew what came with knowledge.
So I am left to look around me, and see what the knowledgeable have wrought and consider that perhaps with knowledge comes chaos for we have quite enough of that, or a lack of compassion, we’re big on that one, so maybe with knowledge come a hidden key to making this all right, but I cannot for the life of me find it.
When you are cleaning, what becomes of the dirt? When you are bathing, what becomes of the water? When you exhale, what becomes of the breath? When the moon disappears is the moon truly gone? When you ask your teacher, what becomes of the question? If you sit quietly on the mat and do not think of this, what becomes of you?
A reflection on Case 21 of the Book of Equanimity ( 従容錄, Shōyōroku)
When you come before your teacher and he asks you what is it exactly that you are looking for, what is it that you expect finally to attain, how will you answer him? If you say you are seeking enlightenment, he will laugh and send you away, but if you answer that you do not know, he will hand you an empty bowl and tell you to go fill it.
A reflection on Case 20 of the Book of Equanimity ( 従容錄, Shōyōroku)
If you must follow the Way, you may read the Dharma for hours on end or you may brew a pot of tea for your teacher, or bring your student a towel and basin. Which two steps along the way will you take?
A reflection on Case 61 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)
You may ask many things of any teacher you meet but the wisest of them will only offer you unending questions. When you look to them to point you to the Way they are doomed to failure for your feet obscure the Way, and it is only by looking within and down through your legs and feet and toes that you can see the way
A reflection on Case 63 of Dogen’s Shobogenzo Koans (True Dharma Eye)