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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 40

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 40

    Case 39 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 40: Ummon's White and Black

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=i...0Black&f=false

    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!

    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??"

    Kaku said,
    "If the essential state is pure and clear, then why do mountains, rivers and the great earth arise!!"
    Why Indeed!

    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!

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...DO-WHAT-S-WHAT

    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!!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-03-2014 at 02:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Here is todays question!!!


    _____________________


    Apology to the Sangha:


    Ok, the sound you hear is me giggling in the back row. Before we get all serious and deep, I have to tell you that I laughed out loud when I read Wick’s explanation about Kohaku and Kohoku. I instantly visualized them as Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny. Daffy thinks he’s so smart and clever, always working some angle, but Bugs is always one step ahead, and laughing at the both of them. I consider Bugs to be one of the great Zen Masters -- if you haven’t watched (the old) Looney Tunes in a while, give ‘em a re-watch and see how awakened he is Anyway, please forgive my disruption.


    Now. I will try to get serious with this koan study.

    Gassho,
    Lisa

  3. #3
    Hi Lisa,

    Someone bothered to splice the great Koan repartee of Master Bugs and Master Daffy ... "Is It Duck Season or Is It Rabbit Season?" ... into a 10 hour loop which, by the way, might be set to repeat in endless loops ... all ending on the brink of life and death! Watch a few minutes, jumping in here and there, and one will see ...

    Is It Duck Season? Is it Rabbit Season? YES! NO! WHAT WAS THE QUESTION!



    Gassho, J

    PS - By the way, beware of Gurus with all the answers ...

    Last edited by Jundo; 06-03-2014 at 01:24 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    That video has made my day. Favorite video posting..ever.

    Gassho, Daffy with the spinning bill.
    大山

  5. #5
    Oh Jundo ... your explanation is just brilliant! Thank you. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Oh Jundo ... your explanation is just brilliant! Thank you. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    Is that a question?

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Case 39 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 40: Ummon's White and Black


    Here is today's question:

    What do you answer?
    What do you answer! That's what you answer! That's what you answer? That! That? That's what? That's what! Got it? Got it! Whatever! Whatever? Whatever! Quiet! Quiet? Quiet! Quiet? Bah! Bah? Bah!

    Furthermore, who is asking and answering what? .... WHO!! WHAT!!

    Who is asking and answering what!

    Any Question? ANY QUESTION!!

    No! No? NO! No what? Who knows?

    Who is on first? Who is on first! Who? Who!


    Gasho, Jishin
    Last edited by Jishin; 06-03-2014 at 02:30 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Is that a question?

    Gassho, J
    Hmmm, can brilliance be questioned, or is it just brilliant? =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Hmmm, can brilliance be questioned, or is it just brilliant? =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    Wrong answer.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Wrong answer.

    Gassho, J
    Hhmm, I tired. =( Guess I will just go sit. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Hhmm, I tired. =( Guess I will just go sit. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    Right answer.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Right answer.

    Gassho, J
    =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Don't know.





    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  14. #14
    Time between deaths of people who die from hunger: 3.6 seconds. Why?

    Gassho,
    John

  15. #15
    Hi John H,

    Is sometimes dropping the question the best answer? Is sometimes letting the question just be a question also a good answer?
    Our clever Zen wordplay can feel really unsatisfying when applied to questions like this. Obviously there is an answer, and it is greed, corruption, and apathy; we all know the world produces enough food for everyone, and it is only people that block the supply chain. That’s another thread I guess. The bigger question behind this question, I think, is why is there suffering?


    I think one way to let this question be a question, is to focus on action. I think this is when we get off the zafu and act in the world. Because even if you knew the ultimate “why,” it still would not solve the problem. Buddha has a prescription for suffering... the 8-fold path seems to work pretty well.


    My answer to big questions like these -- why is there Suffering? Violence? Injustice? -- is this: instead of going in circles asking “why,” try going in circles of action. Feed your family, then feed your friends, then look at your neighbors, then volunteer or donate to a food bank, then look at the situation in your schools, then your city, then your state, always working outward to a wider circle. In the small circle, you might leave a bag of groceries at the old lady’s house down the street. If you ever do work up to the bigger circle, you might be writing letters, getting politically active, helping educate people about what’s going on. All you can do is all you can do, and we don’t all have time to lobby Congress, or travel to faraway countries with the Peace Corps. Just start close to you and do what you can. Walk the 8-fold path. For me, that’s the best I can do with questions like these.

    Bah! Too many words, I know.

    Gassho,
    Lisa
    Last edited by raindrop; 06-03-2014 at 07:59 PM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by John H View Post
    Why?
    Why!

    Gassho, Jishin

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post

    Our clever Zen wordplay can feel really unsatisfying when applied to questions like this. Obviously there is an answer, and it is greed, corruption, and apathy; we all know the world produces enough food for everyone, and it is only people that block the supply chain. That’s another thread I guess. The bigger question behind this question, I think, is why is there suffering?


    I think one way to let this question be a question, is to focus on action. I think this is when we get off the zafu and act in the world. Because even if you knew the ultimate “why,” it still would not solve the problem. Buddha has a prescription for suffering... the 8-fold path seems to work pretty well.


    My answer to big questions like these -- why is there Suffering? Violence? Injustice? -- is this: instead of going in circles asking “why,” try going in circles of action. Feed your family, then feed your friends, then look at your neighbors, then volunteer or donate to a food bank, then look at the situation in your schools, then your city, then your state, always working outward to a wider circle. In the small circle, you might leave a bag of groceries at the old lady’s house down the street. If you ever do work up to the bigger circle, you might be writing letters, getting politically active, helping educate people about what’s going on. All you can do is all you can do, and we don’t all have time to lobby Congress, or travel to faraway countries with the Peace Corps. Just start close to you and do what you can. Walk the 8-fold path. For me, that’s the best I can do with questions like these.

    Bah! Too many words, I know.

    Gassho,
    Lisa
    Lovely.

    I just posted something from Dogen regarding how this world is something of a dream ... yet it is our dream, so we had best dream it well (not turn it into a nightmare!).

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...253#post129253

    We can realize Hells or the Pureland here in this world here and now ... depending on how we act.

    Yes, there is Such where there is no lack or excess, no hungry mouths to feed, no sickness and death (or birth for that matter) ... yet in this world there is lack and excess, hungry mouths to feed, disease and death. Both ways of seeing Reality are True. So, we had best feed those hungry mouths.

    Zen Practice allows one, in its crazy-wise sanity, to experience total acceptance and non-acceptance AT ONCE, AS ONE. Yes there is a realm without suffering ... yes, there is this ordinary Saha world of suffering. Our work as Bodhisattvas is to help the sentient beings ... both by feeding them, offering shelter and medicine in this world as we can ... and also by introducing the Peace and Wholeness of this Realm of Suchness where nothing is ever lacking. A realm where all questions are answered before even being asked ... a realm where "Why do children die of hunger?" is a pressing question ... all as one.

    It is not an either/or proposition, and ALL TRUE AS ONE.

    So, realize Wholeness on the Zafu ... get up from the Zafu and fill the empty holes as best one can.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-04-2014 at 03:50 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    The answer and the question goes together. Without the question no answer and without the answer no question. However, there is questions that cannot be answered.
    In that case we often make up an answer and that´s where religion and philosophy comes from.

    What is it? Is it what? What it is.

    It is what it is. Is it? WHAT?


    Another interesting thing is that the swedish word for presence; närvaro, is made of the words when (när), where (var) and the letter O. So when the two questions -When? and Where? are combined and tied together in an endless cirkel (O) we get Presence, närvaro.

    Good night!

    Gassho
    Kantai

  19. #19
    Hamlet famously said ...

    To be, or not to be--that is the question.

    But if Shakespeare were a Zenny, he might consider other options! There is also this old Koan (that Dogen seems to have been fond of, as it appears in his own Koan collection the Shinji Shobogenzo) ...

    Priest Jianyuan of Tan once accompanied his teacher, Daowu, on a condolence call to a family funeral. When they arrived, Jinyuan tapped the coffin and said, “Is this life, or is this death?”
    Daowu said, “I won’t say life, I won’t say death.”
    Jianyuan said, “Why won’t you say?”
    Daowu said, “I won’t say, I won’t say.”
    On their way back Jianyuan said, “You should say it quickly for me, teacher, or I will hit you.”
    Daowu said, “Hit me if you will, but I will not say.” Jianyuan hit him.
    After returning to the monastery Daowu said to Jianyuan, “You should take leave for a while; I’m afraid if the head monk finds out about this he will make trouble for you.”
    After Daowu passed away, Jianyuan went to see Daowu’s successor Shishuang, told him the story, and asked for guidance. Shishuang said, “I won’t say life, I won’t say death.”
    Jianyuan said, “Why won’t you say it?”
    Shishuang said, “I won’t say, I won’t say.” Jianyuan immediately realized it.
    Or as we say at the Blackjack table of life and death, hand after hand ... HIT ME!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    But I don't want to hit you Jundo!☺

    Gassho
    Kantai

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo! I won't hit you either. When you can't say, you can't say!

    Gassho,
    Nengyo
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  22. #22
    IMHO, if a teacher tries to gift a Koan, refuse the gift, give the teacher 30 blows and go drink tea. If the teacher asks for the meaning of this....I won't say, I won't say.

    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  23. #23
    I will go and make a cup of coffee.

    Gassho

    Vincent
    For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.

  24. #24
    Lisa, thank you for pointing out the noble eightfold path. I can never remember all 8 at once but some kind of action covers everything.
    See suffering
    See the cause of suffering
    Know there is a cessation of suffering
    By following the noble 8 fold path.



    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  25. #25
    How can we find clarity right in and as all of life's many unanswered questions and constant bewilderment?
    When I was younger, I searched for Truth and the Ultimate Answers to The Big Questions. I thought that there was no way to let questions like that... just be. I thought we were here to find the answers. After decades of seeking I found myself back where I started, with the N8FP. Originally I thought it was a list of Thou-Shalt’s -- good ideals but not really an answer. Duh. Now I see that following the path answers everything, at the same time that it makes the questions moot. The questions answer themselves before they are even asked. Now I see that my search for Ultimate Truth was a kind of grasping.


    Wick asks, “How can you really reach this place where you leave no traces?” I think the N8FP shows a way to live so that we flow with all things, “in natural harmony”. A hundred bull’s-eyes shot with not an arrow lost!


    p.s. Rich, I can’t recite the N8FP either. I can recite the names of 13 dwarves, and the formula for a Big Mac, but not the 8F. Ah well.

    Gassho,
    Lisa

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post
    Now I see that following the path answers everything, at the same time that it makes the questions moot. The questions answer themselves before they are even asked. Now I see that my search for Ultimate Truth was a kind of grasping.

    Hi Lisa, I can really relate to what you are saying. By letting go down the bones, the questions are settled at their root. Practice now is more about how I live each day, rather than trying to figure out what life is. It's good to just walk on the ordinary ground, making mistakes, learning, sitting, waking to a fresh face.

    Gassho Daizan
    大山

  27. #27
    Thank you Jundo,
    and every fellow walking the path, and those who not,
    Gassho
    Myoku

  28. #28
    one more ... Language is initially helpful, it allows me to tell you where you find water when you thirst, it allows to warn, when a tiger approaches. But we made it to chatter, actually creating illusion, we take for real whats said, and create a distance to what is. And we used it to harm. Lets use it to heal, and help, and value it, and be more silent. Sorry for the rambling Gassho & thank you again
    Myoku

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post
    Hi John H,



    Our clever Zen wordplay can feel really unsatisfying when applied to questions like this. Obviously there is an answer, and it is greed, corruption, and apathy; we all know the world produces enough food for everyone, and it is only people that block the supply chain. That’s another thread I guess. The bigger question behind this question, I think, is why is there suffering?


    I think one way to let this question be a question, is to focus on action. I think this is when we get off the zafu and act in the world. Because even if you knew the ultimate “why,” it still would not solve the problem. Buddha has a prescription for suffering... the 8-fold path seems to work pretty well.


    My answer to big questions like these -- why is there Suffering? Violence? Injustice? -- is this: instead of going in circles asking “why,” try going in circles of action. Feed your family, then feed your friends, then look at your neighbors, then volunteer or donate to a food bank, then look at the situation in your schools, then your city, then your state, always working outward to a wider circle. In the small circle, you might leave a bag of groceries at the old lady’s house down the street. If you ever do work up to the bigger circle, you might be writing letters, getting politically active, helping educate people about what’s going on. All you can do is all you can do, and we don’t all have time to lobby Congress, or travel to faraway countries with the Peace Corps. Just start close to you and do what you can. Walk the 8-fold path. For me, that’s the best I can do with questions like these.

    Bah! Too many words, I know.

    Gassho,
    Lisa
    Gassho?

    Risho

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Gassho?

    Risho
    Gassho!



    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  31. #31
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    What do you answer?
    I keep thinking how to answer but find I am late every time.


    Quote Originally Posted by Daizan View Post
    Practice now is more about how I live each day, rather than trying to figure out what life is. It's good to just walk on the ordinary ground, making mistakes, learning, sitting, waking to a fresh face.
    Thank you for this, Daizan.

    Gassho,
    Matt J

  32. #32
    Hi All,

    Juki posted this in another thread about a year ago, it caught my eye and seemed to apply to our discussion:

    The German poet Rilke was not a Buddhist (although he did write a poem titled "Buddha"). But he expresed this very sentiment in his "Letters to a Young Poet." I read this passage years ago, and come back to it quite often:


    "have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
    Beautiful!

    Gassho
    Lisa
    Last edited by raindrop; 06-12-2014 at 11:25 PM.

  33. #33
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

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