Case 26 never ends, yet now comes ...
Case 27: Hogen Points to the Blind
Humans beings always think in terms of something gained and something lost. Roll up the blind, so light and openess is gained though shade and privacy is lost, up is gained while down is lost.
Ask a physician to cure a disease, thus health is gained while sickness is lost. Time passes, so the present is gained while the past is lost. A leaf falls from a tree, so that its perch on the branch is lost but falling attained. Endless gain and loss.
Yet, can we also encounter all life's circumstance, all gain and loss, as just as it is ... no mental calculations of gain and loss? Light is just light, shade simply shade ... each held in a Light which illuminates both light and dark. Same with up/down, sickness/health, life/death, past/present/future, holding on or falling.
The monk who knows such "no gain no loss amid gain and loss" truly has gained Wisdom, which the other monk who knows but one or the other is lost in ignorance.
Enlightenment is gained, and ignorance is lost ... a loss and gain by seeing through "loss and gain"!
The Preamble states ...
When doctors are numerous diagnosis is confused; when rules are set up trickery is born.
Society presents a trillion opinions, diagnosis, standards and rules for what is win and lose, failure and success, hitting the mark and falling short. Many are necessary for society's smooth functioning, but can we see through all at the same time?
The Verse states ...
Pines are straight, briars are bent;
Cranes are tall, ducks are short.
We might say that the briar if straight or the pine if bent, the crane when short and the duck tall ... would be wrong. Same with each of us, missing or lacking something we wish we were or had ... fat skinny old young tall short rich poor.
But should the pine be bent and the pine straight, the crane short and the duck tall ... would there truly be gain or loss? Each is just as it is.
There is a Straight which holds both straight and crooked, a Measureless which contains both short and tall.
- What, if you gained or lost it in your life today, would make you happy? Please describe that desire. Do you feel yourself a prisoner of that desire, or do you clutch it (and let it clutch you) lightly?
- Is there a certain peace and freedom that might come to you by dropping that need for gain or loss?
- Is it possible to be all of the above at once ... seeking loss or gain, while free of loss and gain? What would that feel like?
Have you gained anything from this Koan, or just lost some time?