If you want to ask
of the path, do so,
only without breaking
the silence of the zendo.
Seek the answer
in a library without books,
take sustenance
from an empty bowl.

Bodhi is a glittering gem
that cannot be seen
that cannot be held—
do not stumble over it.

A reflection on Case 33 of the Iron Flute Koans


YAKUSAN HOLDS IT         鐵笛倒吹

 Sit just above
the peak of the highest mountain
and reach up with open fingers,
what will you grasp?
Walk slowly across
the floor of  the deepest sea,
what do you see below you?

If you have
three daughters
is any one
less beautiful
than the others?


JOSHU COVERS HIS HEAD         鐵笛倒吹 十一

 When you enter a room
and sit with your teacher
what is it you expect?
He will not follow your breath
nor should you count his,
simply cover your head
and retreat.

He will offer nothing
and that is
quite everything
you require.