Case 32 never ends, yet now comes ...

Case 33: Sansho's Golden Carp

Shishin Wick explains this as a Zen Teacher going up against a tough customer. There is a time to make a firm response, a time to bend and yield. Sometimes, like carp or salmon pushing upstream, there is a time to swim hard ... a time to drop resistance, letting the water do all the work. Bamboo meets a strong wind by yielding and bending. If it offered too much resistance, standing firm and unbending ... it might snap and break. At other times, like a wall or steel building, it is best to meet the wind by standing firm.

Sanpo seems to be showing off about his realization of freedom, but Seppo says he is still like a fish caught in a net. When he offers another stinky Zen answer, Seppo says "I am too old and too busy for this silliness."

The Gate of U (or Yu, the "Dragon's Gate") referred to in the Appreciatory Verse refers to this:

According to Chinese mythology, the Dragonís Gate is located at the top of a waterfall cascading from a legendary mountain. Many carp swim upstream against the riverís strong current, but few are capable or brave enough for the final leap over the waterfall. If a carp successfully makes the jump, it is transformed into a powerful dragon. ... So too, the student of Zen in lifeís currents.
Questions (Choose one or both):

- Describe some difficulty in life you met head on by hard resistance. Describe a problem you solved by softness, or dropping resistance.

- Describe times in your Zen Practice when it is best to push hard. Describe times in your Practice where it is best to be soft, flexible and drop resistance.

Gassho, J