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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 72

  1. #1


    Case 71 never ends, and so we monkey around with Case 72, Chuyu's Monkey ...

    The central question asked by Kyozan is "What is the meaning of Buddha Nature?" Chuyu then presents the image of some fundamental mind or the like (the central monkey) that experiences a sense of being an apart "small self" and the subject/object divide when responding to its name seemingly being called by a person perceived to be outside (outside the 6 windows of its senses, the inside being the subjective and the outside being the outside world).

    Chuyu notes that the same happens for each of the windows when called. When each of the six windows (eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch and the inner thoughts of the mind) respond to the apparent outside calling, they each likewise respond with the subject/object divide. Buddhists of old used to debate whether each of the 6 senses individually developed its own separate consciousness (eye consciousness, ear consciousness, etc.).

    This question about "What happens when the monkey sleeps?" resonates with some other early Buddhist philosophical debates on enlightenment that I recently read. If a sleeping man or a man in a coma would not hear and respond to the outside world, could we call such a person "enlightened"? (Most Buddhists would say no. Enlightenment is to transcend the sense of small self, and the subject/object divide while wide awake and aware).

    In the final act of Chuyu grabbing Kyozan and shouting at Kyozan, perhaps Chuyu wants Kyozan to put down such a philosophical speculation, and simply experience the True Monkey, Buddha Nature.

    As Master Rinzai famously declared:

    There is a true person of no rank (no division, no separation) who is constantly coming and going from the portals of your face. Who is that true person of no rank?

    Yamada Roshi says that the image of two armies in the Preface concerns two generals having a battle of wits ...

    You can consider Chy and Kyzan as the protagonists in battle. In that case,
    they transcend that river of concepts to face off with each other. In that sense, the mondo
    (question and answer) that comes prior to this is not a real dharma combat, but rather one
    fought in the head. To say that the soldiers are lying in ambush means that the soldiers take off
    the armor they are wearing because such armor would reflect the sunlight and attract
    attention. Lying in ambush is a good tactic when they are separated from each other. But what
    about when they are facing each other?
    The Appreciatory Verse is a bit more subtle but, says Yamada, is an image of some cold and withered winter scene springing to life in the spring, as Chuyu brings some life to Kyozan's rather lifeless philosophical questions.

    Something like that.

    Anyway, just monkey business.

    Gassho, J


    Last edited by Jundo; 12-06-2016 at 03:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Thank you for this reading Jundo. =)



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  3. #3
    Love this one! Sat with it today in fact.

    It occurred to me that forcing the monkey to notice the monkey responding is just creating another monkey.

    Look at all the monkeys!


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    Last edited by Hoko; 12-06-2016 at 04:28 PM.
    法 Dharma
    口 Mouth

  4. #4
    Rinzai's words on the person of no rank have always been very effective to me.

    Thank you, Jundo, gassho.

    Sat today
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  5. #5
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Sometimes when I'm concentrating the monkey seems to be asleep. It is a state I think is described as flow. Occasionally I feel something similar in zazen, just awareness.


  6. #6
    I love the image of the monkey in the room looking through the six windows, such a great simile. "I" am just a monkey man...
    AL (Jigen) in:

    I sat today

  7. #7
    This koan brings to my mind Zazen.

    The monkey in the room with six windows is my mind during Zazen. The six windows being the six senses. Stimulating the senses excites the monkey which is why we usually practise Zazen in a quite place staring at a blank wall. From time to time I've sat at work or in other places where there is more activity around me. It is much much hard to just sit in those places because of all the competing activity drawing my senses to them.

    Every once in a while while sitting I can get the monkey to sleep while sitting but as soon as I notice the monkey is asleep it is like I called out to the monkey to wake him up.

    Sat today

  8. #8
    In the East they have windows to perception, but in the West it was Huxley who talked about doors to perception, an interesting East/West difference. I haven't smoked marijuana or taken any hallucinogens in years, but I can easily recall how they helped calm the monkey and just let me enjoy what was coming in through the doors and windows. This is in no way an endorsement of that, of course. Rather, it indicates how substances can be a seductive shortcut with side effects that end up actually blocking the Path. Still, I love the Doors and recommend allowing your monkey to get into this.
    AL (Jigen) in:

    I sat today

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