Case 34 never ends, yet now comes ...
Case 35: Rakubo's Acquiescence
I feel that this Koan is another caution regarding students who have had a taste of Emptiness, some Opening or the like, and think they are fully Enlightened beings. Thus, in the story, the fellow comes with a lot of ego and pride, yet is all tongue tied when asked to truly manifest Wisdom. He makes some of the cliche moves and sounds that Zen folks sometimes do to manifest the unspeakable ... a shout, a circle in the air ... but the Teacher is unimpressed at his act.
Real mastery of this Way, I feel, is shown in how we apply Wisdom and Compassion in life, where the rubber meets the road. That is the best demonstration of one's Insight and Mastery, far beyond any shout or grand gesture or poetic quoting in the Dokusan room. If one does want to demonstrate one's Insight through poetry, gestures or shouts ... well, one must certainly bring some originality and heart into it, not merely copying Zen stereotypes that one has read about in some old Zen stories. Make the Teachings one's own. A person with True Understanding knows it too, because he cannot even have his head turned by praise or criticism ... because he is beyond praise or criticism in his conviction about his understanding.
Question: How do you think you will feel, and how will you know for sure when you have become, "Enlightened"? What do you imagine that will be like? How will you know when you have got it?