Case 39 never ends, yet now comes ...
Case 40: Ummon's White and Black
In life we have so many questions. We long for clear answers, black and white.
But here, Ummon is asking for an answer ... with seemingly no question asked. Or perhaps EVERY question ever to be asked is being asked, but demanding no answer! Kempo answers with a question, something like "Have You Seen Your True Face Where All Is Answered?". Ummon answers by saying that to answer in words would hide that face, and that would be no good answer. Kempo responds with "Is That So?" ... another question, but maybe to be heard as "THIS IS SO! THAT IS SO! SO SO SO!" ...
I heard a Chinese Chan Teacher, in answer to a question, describe yesterday how Zen has two main approaches ... the "Koan Introspection Zazen" folks who go deeply and powerfully into a question (such as "Who Are You?" or "What Is The Sound Of One Hand Clapping?") until the question just implodes, and the questioner too ... and Silent Illumination/Shikantaza folks who drop the questions and the questioner ... and how all such roads lead to the same placeless place where there is no question, yet all questions of life endlessly arise. THE SOUND OF WHO AND WHAT ARE YOU!!!!
To this any question and no question ... I would answer YES! YES! YES! and NO! NO! NO! ALL AT ONCE! I would answer silently while in words, with that which is each and all both and yet beyond "YES vs. NO"!
ABOUT ALL THESE ENDLESS QUESTIONS THERE IS NO QUESTION!
Master Dogen had a wonderful way of turning interrogative words ... WHO? WHAT? WHY? ... into declarations and affirmations ... WHO! WHAT! WHY!
Why Indeed!A monk asked Master Kaku of Roya,
"If the essential state is pure and clear, then why do mountains, rivers and the great earth arise??"
"If the essential state is pure and clear, then why do mountains, rivers and the great earth arise!!"
Here's an old talk explaining WHY! and WHEREFORE! and WHAT'S WHAT! Please have a listen, and all your non-questions will be non-answered!
How can we find Clarity right in and as all of life's many unanswered questions and constant bewilderment? HOW INDEED! It is like a mirror, crystal clear, in which all questions are reflected. It is like opening a fist, and letting all the questions open and untangle. It is like being at a crossroads with the future unknown, what will happen just a mysterious outcome of possibilities ... yet perfectly at home right there and with whatever comes. Is sometimes dropping the question the best answer? Is sometimes letting the question just be a question also a good answer? Zen folks have a wonderful way of being clear and confident right at the heart of dilemma and doubt.
Here is today's question:
What do you answer?
Furthermore, who is asking and answering what? .... WHO!! WHAT!!
Any Question? ANY QUESTION!!