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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 17

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    Case17: Preface to the assembly:

    Paired geese beating the ground with their wing tips fly up high. A pair of wood ducks stands alone at the edge of a pond. Leaving aside the matter of arrow points meeting head on, what about sawing on a steel counter weight?

    Main case:
    Attention! Hogen asked Administrator Monk Shuzan, “If there's even a hair’s breadth of difference, heaven and earth are clearly separated. How do you understand this?" Shuzan replied, "If there's even a hair’s breadth of difference, heaven and earth are clearly separated." Hogan said, "If that's so, how could you understand it?" Shuzan answered, "I am just this. How about you Osho?" Hogan remarked, "If there is even a hair’s breadth difference, heaven and earth are clearly separated." At that, Shuzan bowed low.

    Appreciatory verse:
    A fly settles on a balance pan and it tilts.
    The ten-thousand-generation scale illuminates unevenness.
    Pounds, ounces, pennyweights, grains – measure exactly as you will. In the end you’ll lose to my fixed indicator
    Paired geese, freely flying and high or*wooden ducks by the pond: *always a great practice where relative and absolute, student and teacher, self and Buddha meet. You' think that majestic geese are better than worned out wooden fake ducks...beware! Two arrows meeting in mid air is the traditional take on the perfect-spontaneous dynamic interaction between the student and the teacher.*

    The hair's breadth difference is found in the Shinjinmei , faith-mind poem, of master Sozan:*

    depart from an hair breadth, and heaven and earth ar set apart

    The same words will be found in dogen 's *Fukanzazengi.

    Words of caution here, and words of compassion. Give a single taste to this practice and it is tainted, add the slightest, tiniest goal or greed, and all things are set apart. Of course, heaven and earth, absolute and relative, Buddha and self, are neither one nor two, non dual in their play, their dance is fully realized every moment at every single step. But once we choose, pick up, add, manipulate and we will simply fail to live this and the let this live us. As long as we want to live Buddha, we live nothing but a mistake, still a take. Something extra. Once the agendas are dropped, the goals forgotten, the dance is starting to really freely live in ever inch of our body-mind.

    Shuzan's words miss the mark because they are extra, they fail to express the whole reality because they just don't come from the right and free place. Witty, thoughtful, careful words but out of tune. The answer cannot be found in words but in the body breath that utter them, you could say: spoon, shitbag, rotten rat or blue flower, that would still be a perfectly acceptable answer when it comes from the right place. One of my first teachers once told me:

    Don't be abused by words, when people speak, listen to the being- living where these words come from
    Understanding is living, understanding is alive, not a processed fllow of sounds but a spit, a hit, a flash, a shout ( why do you think our Zen stories are filled with these sudden stirs and moves? Because they give no room to making,fabricating or processing) as Dogen writes in the Fukanzazengi:

    Iwan ya mata shi kan shin tsui o nenzuru no tenki,
    Moreover, changing of the moment through the action of a finger, a pole, a needle, or a wooden clapper;

    hokken b˘ katsu o kosuru no sh˘kai mo,
    and exact experience of the state through the manifestation of a whisk, a fist, a staff, or a shout,

    imada kore shiry˘ funbetsu no yoku gesuru tokoro ni arazu,
    can never be understood by thinking and discrimination.
    Zen is not ready made pizza or junk food but raw stuff full of flavours cooked on the spot!


    Last edited by Taigu; 10-13-2012 at 02:24 AM.

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