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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 71

  1. #1

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 71

    Case 70 never ends, and so we grow Case 71, Suigan's Eyebrows ...

    It is said that, if one preaches a false Teaching, one's eyebrows will fall out. On the other hand, a wise sage will have exceptionally long eyebrows. So, Suigan asked his Dharma Brothers how his summer Teachings were during a Retreat by asking if he had any eyebrows left.

    The responses by his Brothers are open to some interpretation, but might be something like "yes" "no" "hard to say (or something like "it ain't a matter of winning or losing")"

    The Preface seems to imply the a Teacher, no matter how much he or she tries to explain Zen, must make a mess of it and sully him/herself. Thus, he "stains his own mouth" with blood. It is a losing game in which one ends up springing for others' bar tab and with little to show for it in the end (the image of paying others' debts, left with no death money oneself). But then the author of the Book of Serenity (Bansho) asks whether he managed to break even nonetheless.

    The appreciatory verse seems to praise Teachers who are confident and contrast them with those who are not, those who truly do their thing versus those who just are superficial.

    Personally, I take this Koan as referring to a Teacher who must just do his or her own thing to Teach, be sincere and let the chips fall where they may. (It reminds me a bit about the conflicting criticism Treeleaf sometimes get: I have been told by some folks that it is too traditional, but others have said it is too modern and liberal. Some have said it is too Japanese, others that it is too Western. I have been told that things I write are too clear for a Zen guy and I say too much, others say my words are too mysterious and hard to understand). There is an English saying, "Ya can't win for losing", you just can't win.

    I suppose that, for all of us, there comes a time when we just have to have confidence in our Practice, wihout looking for outside opinions and confirmation. You can judge the length of your own eyebrows without asking anyone else.

    Did my eyebrows fall out in handling this Koan? How would you rate what I said on a scale of 1 to 10?

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-09-2016 at 02:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Hi Jundo,

    I think your eyebrows are pretty thick and bushy. The dharma is also very bushy. And then my own point of view falls down like leaves in autumn.

    6a00d8341cac1753ef0120a7911643970b.jpg

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    Hi Jundo,

    I think your eyebrows are pretty thick and bushy. The dharma is also very bushy.
    You notice that too eh .... Hmmm, wisdom! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today

    Sent from my LG-H812 using Tapatalk

  4. #4

    Did my eyebrows fall out in handling this Koan? How would you rate what I said on a scale of 1 to 10?
    Hello,

    Too busy with eye lashes. Take the thumb off the scale (in a New York minute.)




    Gassho
    Myosha
    sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 11-09-2016 at 12:03 AM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  5. #5
    Thank you, Jundo, I think your eyebrows are growing, "bushy," as has already been said. It really helps to understand the references made in the koans. That still leaves some mystery to focus on.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday

  6. #6
    I didn't "get" this one at first but it grew on me (pun intended).
    There's a lot of meat on the bones.
    For me it reinforces the idea of being one's authentic self versus trying to be one's authentic self.

    Personally, I often get bogged down in the "trying" and find myself aping the actions of what I would fix in my mind as a "good Zen Buddhist".
    But in struggling to "try" and be good, I hesitate and fail.

    All this "analysis paralysis" ruminating on what the actions of an enlightened person would be under this or that circumstance. It's folly!
    What would Buddha do? What would Buddha do?!
    Well, I would assume Buddha wouldn't be dualistic and would say "be a light unto yourself".

    Asking others to verify your own truth is a fools errand. "Did I do a good job being myself?!"
    And, yet, how else can we determine the length of our own eyebrows without asking a friend?

    Like zazen I think things come together when we stop trying to assemble the pieces.
    Getting advice from others without relying too much on them for validation is the razor's edge of practice.

    Gassho,
    -K2
    #SatToday

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by kliffkapus View Post

    Asking others to verify your own truth is a fools errand. "Did I do a good job being myself?!"
    And, yet, how else can we determine the length of our own eyebrows without asking a friend?

    Like zazen I think things come together when we stop trying to assemble the pieces.
    Getting advice from others without relying too much on them for validation is the razor's edge of practice.

    Gassho,
    -K2
    #SatToday
    Yes! Reminds me of: there's no stand, no mirror, so where could dust gather?

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  8. #8
    I didn't "get" this one at first but it grew on me (pun intended).
    There's a lot of meat on the bones.
    For me it reinforces the idea of being one's authentic self versus trying to be one's authentic self.



    Teaching is a no-win situation. Whereas there are always going to be people who like what you say, it is pretty much impossible to say anything of substance that someone isn't going to dislike or disagree with.

    However, teaching is also the path of the Bodhisattva, showing others the path to walk down, or at least the various sights on the way.

    Opening your mouth, eyebrows are going to get singed along the way. Being silent, we keep our eyebrows but no one is any the wiser. It is far easier to criticise what others are doing than set yourself up for criticism but far less valuable. So, thank you, Jundo, for risking your brows!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    #sattoday
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  9. #9
    What a timely koan! I just sat the 4 hour zazenkai for nov, and I thought how thankful I am for a teacher who calls the ultimate "Stanley" and does the hokey pokey!!! Seriously Your teaching style really resonates with me. Many many bows.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -sattoday

  10. #10
    Member Getchi's Avatar
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    Thankyou again Jundo, your expression is perfectly Jundo to me


    I rate you 10!~!!!


    Gassho
    GEoff.
    sattoday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  11. #11
    As a teacher, this one hits home for me. My aim is to be knowledgeable and genuine, to present the material in a way that will make sense to the students, in a way that is practical so they can use it later on when I am gone. I hate lecturing from a book, so i try to take the material and make it my own in some way. I tell lots of stories that will, hopefully, relate to the material. I enjoy my students, and I confess to caring more than I should about them liking me. But when I get my course evaluations i don't think I've done my job very well if there isn't at least one complaint, one kan, so I appreciate Ummon's comment the most. Flattery and compliments are not helpful to me. I prefer getting something that will help me grow and,,, maybe,,, get better.

    Jundo, my apologies for flattery, but I think you are terrific in how you explain these koans. As for the complaints about the site, isn't it sort of a Zen thing to be winning for losing?
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  12. #12
    Your thoughts make sense. So I say eyebrows are still there and growing.

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