Well, the moment has come to begin our reflecting, dancing, living the 100 Koans of the Book of Equanimity ...
We are going to try a great experiment, seeing how these Koans may be brought to life in our lives ... feeling how each resonates in our heart, and the Wisdom each carves into our bones.
At the core of the experiment, I would like to ask each member joining in this book club to post something each week ... some message ... just to signal to the others that we are all together. However, in posting your message ... you do not necessarily need to say anything (even a blank space as your posting is fine if that is what is sincerely felt), or a photograph, a poem, a song lyric, a cartoon, a story. The only requirement is that your posting be sincere, and honestly expresses how the Koan resonates in you and your life, and you in the Koan. Don't post simply because you feel you have to "sound Zen, sound Wise" ... and it is okay to say "I don't really get it" or "This Koan does not do anything for me". Most highly treasured would be some story from your own life describing a moment ... perhaps your life now, or some event you recall many years ago ... in which the insight of the Koan served as a kind of "turning word" to let you see, experience or handle an event in your life differently (This week, our Case 1, will ask for such an example).
Give it a try, take a chance ... don't be scared. We will not be judgmental, and all sincere responses are welcome. What pops up for you when you reflect on this Koan?... either immediately or after a few days?
Although we will not be judgmental, at the same time it is certainly true that some responses will ring the bell, flower, fly in the sky, and some will clunk, wilt on the vine or never get off the ground! Some may be very much "up in the head" ... all words and philosophy, no real heart. Some may "stink of Zen" but be rather hollow. That's okay, don't be afraid to clunk or stink or crash & burn! You see ... Koans are a lot like trying one's hand at art in a rather free form art class. Some paintings may come out as works of great insight and power, and some may not. Oh, sure, some creations may show "the knack" and some may "lack" something ... but the most important thing is to keep on making art!
So, be brave!! We are all going to be supportive of each other here, and all of us will flower sometimes, wilt sometimes, a bit of both sometimes.
I suggest that you read the "MAIN CASE" first, then read the "PREFACE TO THE ASSEMBLY" next and the "APPRECIATORY VERSE", then Shishin Wick's Commentary. The reason I suggest you read the "PREFACE TO THE ASSEMBLY" and "APPRECIATORY VERSE" after the main case is that they are usually playful puns, jokes, poetic reflections and such on the MAIN CASE. Don't be worried if they are hard to understand. Often, the PREFACE and VERSE are based on inside jokes, old Chinese slang, long forgotten poetic references that are now hard to understand. Shishin will explain some of the meaning.
In fact, take the whole ... the entire Koan ... as like a painting, scenery, a poem, a song ... and let the "lyrics" or images or little tale sink into you. For example, if you visit and look at the Grand Canyon ... you may think a bit about the Grand Canyon, about the majesty, the forces which went into its creation, the pioneers and cowboys, history ...
... but ultimately, one just lets the Grand Canyon wash through one and one through the Canyon. So it is with these Koans.
CASE 1 - The World-Honored One Ascends the Platform
Most days, for years and years, the Buddha would ascend the platform to deliver a lecture on some aspect of Buddhist Teachings. Today, he goes up ... he comes down without saying a word. Or, did his "without words" speak volumes? Some truths about the Grand Canyon can be described in words, and some vital truths about the Canyon ... best without words. Such is even so much more so in the Buddha's Truths!
Shishin says, "Don't add anything extra. Just let everything be as it is. That's liberation. But letting everything be as it is, is difficult for us because we are always trying to fiddle around with things, always adding something, wishing something were taken away. ... [But if you think] everything is perfect as it is, that is [also] an erroneous view."
Can you describe a problem or incident in your life, now or in the past ... a situation that is/was very hard ... that your head was filled with thoughts and emotions about, and that you resisted or hated very much ... but would have/did/might experience very differently by just being "without words", just allowing and not fighting?
PS - Some portions are available online, pending purchase ...
http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=fjtE ... &q&f=false
http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Equanimi ... 0861713877