TIPPING THE WATER BOTTLE 無門關 四十

 

These few words
gathered neatly on a scrap
of simple paper,
what do you call it?

Answer carefully for you response
may carry the keys
to the doors of Mount Tai-i.
Better still, upend
the water bottle, watch
the ink and water form
a gentle pool into which
no pebble drops.


A reflection on Case 40 of the Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate)

THE GIRL COMES OUT 無門關 四十二

She sits undisturbed
Shakyamuni by her side.
You can wave at her, she
will pay you no mind.

You cannot grasp her mind
and maintain a hold
on your own, you will grow
deaf from the chatter
but a child can curl
at her feet and she
will stroke his forehead
in perfect Samadhi.


A reflection on Case 42 of the Mumonkan (Gateless Gate)

ENLIGHTENMENT

He wasn’t sure he wanted it,
was fairly certain he did not,
and in that moment,was certain
he would get it, so he began
developing elaborate plans
on what to do with it when it arrived.
He laid them out in painful detail,
each step, each move carefully choreographed.
He waited patiently, each minute
washing into the next until
it was hours, then days, then months.
He reassessed his plans for it,
fine tuned them daily.
He grew older, until one day
he could no longer remember
what it was, and moments
later it arrived, and there it sat
unseen and unrecognized.

TOKUSAN’S ASSEMBLY 正法眼蔵 三十六

When the Buddha offered
true wisdom, no one
was present to hear it.
Those who were not there
understood it fully.
Where will you look
for true wisdom?
Will your ears here
what your mouth cannot say?
Only with closed eyes
will the light become clear.


A reflection on Case 36 of the Shobogenzo (Dogen’s True Dharma Eye).

HSIANG LIN’S MEANING OF THE COMING FROM THE WEST

You are certain the key
is to sit, for that is what
your teacher has told you, that
is the practice set out for you.
When you feel you have not attained
your goal on the path, you assume
it is because you have not sat
still enough, long enough, deeply enough.
A wise sage would tell you
that sitting is a step
along the path, but that you
can never be still in sitting, for
the place in which you sit
in this moment cannot be
the place in which you sat the last,
or the place you will sit the next.
So do not move and progress
along the path spread out before you.


A reflection on Case 17 of the Hekiganroku (Blue Cliff Record)