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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 41

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 41

    Case 40 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 41: Rakuho's Last Moments

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=C...oments&f=false

    It is helpful to know that what old Zen folks say may have a couple of meanings.

    For example, sometimes "I don't know" means "I am baffled and don't understand". But sometimes "I don't know" means "I know clearly" for "no 'I' knowing 'it'".

    Sometimes "I can't say" means just "I am tongue tide and don't know what to say", but sometimes saying "I can't say" is saying "I say what cannot be said because beyond and right through words of this and that and I." Then, "not knowing" is Knowing and saying "not saying" is really Saying!

    This Koan is chock full of other word play.

    If you simply approve what someone else says and do not know oneself, this is "putting another head on top of your own." Likewise, if you simply mentally or philosophically approve or deny the existence of the Reality that is beyond such dichotomies as "right/wrong" "existence/not existence" "approval/disapproval" and "yes/no" ... one is truly Wrong and does not Know, and is still putting on a head.

    Likewise, disagreeing with the Teacher who is Teaching about the above is also ignorance of the "lost and just don't get it" sort.

    Rather, one should "Approve" (Big "A") in one's own heart, bones and actions the Teaching that is beyond and right through approval and disapproval, existence and not existence, and the rest.

    Here, the head monk says something to his dying Teacher like "Things are just what they are, it is clear before our eyes". What he says is perfectly true, but it seems Rakuho may have detected that the Knowing and Saying "in one's own heart, bones and actions" was missing from the words. Maybe the student was just mouthing platitudes. The good Teacher knows when a student is saying X as just a platitude, and when the Saying of the very same X is Real and Authentic perhaps by the twinkle of confidence in the student's expression, how he walks, and all his other actions which show if he is really in tune.

    Then Genju pops up with several "I don't question" and "I can't say" statements which seem more of the tongue-tied variety than the "Saying Non-Saying" kind. So, Rakuho does not seem to approve Genju. He says to Genju later, "What you said today made sense and sounded good" but I rather doubt that you Speak and Know the realm of no separate Dharma (here "Dharma" probably means separate things/phenomena) before the eyes (and inside and behind the eyes too) where all is Emptiness/Wholeness (here Big M "Mind" means such)." Rakuho wants Genju to Speak, See and Hear (Big "S" and "H") such which "the ear and eye cannot reach". Such must be "Seen with the ears, Heard with the eyes", or "the eye seeking to find the eye" as the old Zen Masters sometimes put it ... for it is here and there and all around beyond and right through "here vs. there", yet without a discerning Eye and Ear completely missed.

    Thus, Rakuho says that one needs to be discerning of "host" and guest". In old Zen lingo, host is generally "Emptiness/Absolute" and guest "form/separate phenomena"

    These two might also be described as the real and apparent, upright and inclined, universal and particular, ultimate and phenomenal, oneness and many, or absolute and relative, and are frequently suggested in Chan discourse by the metaphors of host and guest or lord and vassal.
    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...ng_of_suchness
    Of course, the Heart Sutra reminds us "Form is no other than Emptiness, Emptiness precisely Form". To the discerning Eye, Guest is Guest and Host is Host, yet Host is precisely Guest and Guest emerges as Host.

    Rakuho concludes perhaps, "I toss myself into the river of Compassionate action on the river of flowing Emptiness, there is no place of safety or measure."

    He asks, "Tough, isn't it?" ... which perhaps means both "tough" and "amazingly simple" (like a Rubic's Cube, perhaps, or Chinese puzzle boxes which is surprisingly simple and springs open once one finds the trick).

    QUESTIONS: Do you know? Can you speak the unspoken? Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple?


    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 06-17-2014 at 03:17 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    .

    QUESTIONS: Do you know? Can you speak the unspoken? Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple?

    Do you know? You know!

    Can you speak the spoken? Unspoken!

    Are you guest or host? Brushing my teeth.

    Is it tough or simple? Going to sleep.



    Gassho, Jishin
    治 Ji
    心​ Shin
    #SatToday

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Do you know? Can you speak the unspoken? Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple?
    I must admit, this koan doesn't reach me at all but I need to hang the laundry up before sitting otherwise the kids won't have any clean school clothes.


    Gassho
    Andy

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    I must admit, this koan doesn't reach me at all.

    Gassho
    Andy
    If you don't take a bite, you won't get caught by a hook. Good one.

    Gassho, Jishin

  6. #6
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    QUESTIONS

    Truth precedes
    sound,
    Intuition precedes
    present action,
    Within All, now.


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

  7. #7
    Yes, this is a bit of a complicated one ... Koans within Koans ... like that Chinese puzzle box with all the steps and levers to push and pull to spring it open.

    However, I feel it is a good one (obviously Hongzhi, the collector of the Book of Serenity, felt so too). Work through this a bit, see the way the sayings of the Old Masters can sometimes mean something very contrary to what they seem to be saying ("yes" sometimes means "yes" but sometimes "no" and sometimes both at once and, to the master, that beyond and right through "yes vs. no" too), how the Master is looking for real sincerity and feel for the words spoken (not just platitudes). Getting a sense of this style of dialogue here will help unlock many other Koans where similar banter and word combat is involved.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-17-2014 at 03:22 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I don't know
    I don't know
    I am homeless
    It is toughly simple
    迎 Geika

  9. #9
    However, I feel it is a good one (obviously Hongzhi, the collector of the Book of Serenity, felt so too). Work through this a bit, see the way the saying of the Old Masters can sometimes mean something very contrary to what they seem to be saying, how the Master is looking for real sincerity and feel for the words spoken (not just platitudes). Getting a sense of this style of dialogue here will help unlock many other Koans where similar banter and word combat is involved.
    Thank you for the encouragement, Jundo. I will persist with this one.

    Gassho
    Andy

  10. #10
    "Don't know" swallows empty ("no 'I' knowing 'it'". ) and form ("I am baffled and don't understand") alike and spits out just empty is empty and form is form. Here, the sky is blue and the grass is green. Going one step further and dropping platitudes, right action appears following the Bodhisattva way. The teacher hurts and is dying. Console him. Your neighbor is cold. Give him your coat. The strange lady is hungry. Share your food. Just like this.

    Gassho, Jishin

  11. #11
    I don't know
    I don't know
    I am homeless
    It is toughly simple



    I just feel this, Amelia.
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-17-2014 at 03:16 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Thank you for your questions, Jundo. They prodded some sincerity from me.

    Gassho
    迎 Geika

  13. #13
    Wooden goose,
    tossed down the river,
    still gets wet.
    Is it alive or dead!

    _/\_

  14. #14
    Do you know?
    I furiously chop off heads and they spring back. I feel dizzy. Watch my steps.


    Can you speak the unspoken?
    The unspoken sings out the silent song of all that echoes forever. Listen!


    Are you guest or host?
    The host bows to the guest, and they join hands and dance and whirl to the silent song.


    Is it tough or simple?
    All unfolding according to their nature; open hands become eyes and hearts.

    Gassho
    Lisa

  15. #15
    Yowzah! Felt that!

    (or it could just be the drugs they gave me this morning for a medical test)

    Lovely Lisa!

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  16. #16
    Hard to go beyond that, Lisa.

    Thank you for showing how it is done.

    *deep bows*
    Andy

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    This is what comes to mind when hearing the phrase, "The green mountain always raises its leg." :
    From the Swedish child movie "Dunderklumpen" (no subtitles im afraid)


    Gassho
    Kantai

  18. #18
    Kantai, I love this! Thanks for putting it up.
    And it's a lot better than the, um, urinary picture that was in my head when I read that phrase.
    Still working on it!

    Gassho
    Lisa

  19. #19
    Senior Member Kantai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raindrop View Post
    Still working on it!
    Me too.
    "Though, isn't it?"

    Gassho
    Kantai

  20. #20
    QUESTIONS: Do you know? Can you speak the unspoken? Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple?

    Ugh..... Aww man!!! Those are what I thought as I read this koan because it is a tough one. But it's also tough because I was approaching it how I approach a logical problem. If I approached zazen like that, as some daily chore as opposed to completely and just sitting, I would be in the same predicament (which I do at times), which leads me in terms of how I address this koan, and I will try to keep this as succinct and meaningful as possible, which will be tricky. lol

    First this koan made me think of how sometimes I get frustrated when I hear koan talks or when Shishin discusses koans. My dualistic, problem solving mind just wants the presenter "to get to it already!". "Why can't you just tell me?????" It drives me nuts. But then I realize that is impossible. Then it would not be mine; it would be like someone telling me how to ride a bike and then mistakenly believing that I now am a bike rider even if I've never put foot to pedal. So in a way, the only way to really talk about these things [that drive my mind nutty] is via example.. to help one realize it for themself.

    That is important for me because instead of trying to figure anything out, I started thinking about practice, and that usually helps me to understand in a sense what the koan is pointing to, even though of course practice never ends, and koan understanding never ends, it just gets deeper and deeper, hopefully assuming we are really engaging it and not going through the forms... yadda, yadda, yadda (sorry to wander).

    So to answer these questions:

    Do I know? Yes and No

    I don't know at times from a "clueless, I have no idea about this" perspective.

    I do know sometimes because I drop all that, continue practice, with faith that one day I will realize the whole, realized, not-knowingness.

    I don't know at times when I live only out of the past -- my mind, our minds, like to create frameworks. We often see things, filter them, solve problems, etc. from our framework, which is based from past experience. But although past experience is useful, it is not completely accurate, and it's not alive with the current moment. So I also don't know by dropping what I do know from the past, and not allowing it to define how I see things now.

    I have some really cool examples of that from a professional and personal perspective. Professionally, while looking at a coding error, I couldn't understand why it was failing until I dropped what I thought I knew. When I came in as a person that was completely open, I saw the problem, because I allowed it to present itself to me. I allowed the 10,000 things to come to me instead of me trying to push my agenda.

    Second, and more importantly, I was acting like a child with my wife, which I'm good at I didn't even realize it at first because I was just thinking of what I wanted; I think it had to do with dinner or dessert. hahaaha I like food In any case, I paused and caught myself, and I actually started joking and laughing about it. By removing my knowing how things should be, it lightened it all up.. it lightened my grip on the situation.

    There's also a practice perspective of knowing. Sometimes I know too much. I think I really get this, and then I realize that's my ego playing mind games. This stuff is alive, that's why it's hard to discuss. It can't be pinned down. It's meant to be lived, not stifled and made into an equation

    Also, in the practice area, there was a gradual shift from: "I don't know why I practice" to "I don't know; that's why I practice". When I first started practicing, I was just so enamored with the Dharma. Sometimes I'd get too into it, and then it was like my mind would balance that out with a healthy push the other way, and I'd just struggle to practice at all. It was like this swinging pendulum, constantly overcompensating.... until suddenly, it all just settles down into practice, no big deal ( I don't mean this lackadaisically by the way). That's why the Sangha is really precious; it keeps you grounded, from leaving altogether when you don't get what your ego wants... in any case I digress.


    Can you speak the unspoken? I can speak about it in generalizations from my life based on failing at practicing it.

    Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple? It depends on how I approach it. If I'm approaching it at all, it will fall into one or the other, which is not quite right. If I am it, then there can be no comparison. Of course I'm it; but I'm practicing to realize that.


    Gassho,

    Risho
    Last edited by Risho; 06-20-2014 at 07:59 PM.

  21. #21
    ...I couldn't understand why it was failing until I dropped what I thought I knew. When I came in as a person that was completely open, I saw the problem, because I allowed it to present itself to me. I allowed the 10,000 things to come to me instead of me trying to push my agenda.
    Thank you Risho, I need to hear this 10,000 times in 10,000 ways.

    Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple? It depends on how I approach it. If I'm approaching it at all, it will fall into one or the other, which is not quite right. If I am it, then there can be no comparison.
    I had to think on this a while to really get it. This is awesome.

    Gassho
    Lisa

  22. #22
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    I know nothing in the silence.
    It comes and goes in the ease and in the struggle.

    Gassho Heisoku
    Heisoku
    平 息

  23. #23
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Genju... Bro! Dude! I feel ya, man!

    QUESTIONS: Do you know? Can you speak the unspoken? Are you guest or host? Is it tough or simple?
    ANSWER: Sometimes. Sometimes. What! Yes!
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

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