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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39074


    We now continue our dance with the koans of the Book of Serenity. If you are not sure of how to play this deadly game, look here ...

    JUST REPOSTING HERE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT FROM ANOTHER THREAD ... Hi All, I would like to announce our next book selection for the Treeleaf "Beyond Words & Letters" Book Club (to follow our current reading, the wonderful 'Zen Seeds') ... The Book of Equanimity, Illuminating Classic Zen Koans, commentary by Gerry


    Dear All, 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

    ... Case 32: Kyozan's State of Mind

    "Where were you born?" he asks.

    In the thoughts of the mind, there is "me" in here and the "mountains, rivers, other people and buildings" out there. There is a place I am born, and a time I will die. There is gold and there are mouse turds.

    When the mind ceases such divisive thoughts, what then? What is seen with a Buddha Eye? We do not see any separate things at all. Every mouse turd as sacred gold! There is no birth or death!

    Yet Kyozan cautions that, as people, we still must live in a world of you and me and other people, mountains and rivers and buildings. Mouse turds are not gold. People are born, live, die.

    To see only with human eyes is a kind of blindness, like holding a board allowing us to see half the seen scene. Yet seeing only Emptiness is a kind of disease too, like holding the board to block the other eye! Truly, Buddhas see clearly ... that mouse turds are each sacred Gold ... yet mouse turds are mouse turds and gold is gold. Such is where you are born. Drop that board!

    The Preface speaks of dragons and cranes, so strong and vibrant ... tired birds and exhausted fish. Young or old, healthy or weak ... "Is there any measure of gain or loss to be made of this?" I say, do not judge only with a one sided eye!

    The appreciatory verse speaks of "no separation" and "flying without impediment" right amid a world of "gates and fences, barrier and chains".

    The story of the drunken guest may refer to a tale from the Lotus Sutra: A wealthy man has a poor friend come to his house to drink wine. When the wealthy one is called away on business, he feels sorry for the friend and fastens a priceless jewel to his robes. But the friend is so sleepy drunk he is unaware of the jewel's presence or the other man's kindness. Is not our Buddha nature like a jewel or piece of gold which we hold all along, whether we know or not?

    QUESTION: Please describe how, in your life, one can experience "no separation" and "flying without impediment" right amid a world of "gates and fences, barrier and chains". How can the"mouse turds" of the world be seen as each and all a Buddha Jewel ... even as mouse turds are still mouse turds, and need to be cleaned up as best we can?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-17-2014, 07:47 AM.
  • Myosha
    • Mar 2013
    • 2974


    Realizing "living with duality" allows one to forego living duality. 99.9% of beings dual eyes "see" one image. Even though each eye has a unique view i.e., left (or wrong) view and right (or right) view. Stupid. Not two but one.

    Impediments are useful as learning tools. Barriers and solutions are one thing (not two).

    "Mouse turds", both organic and inorganic, decompose to become the soil that nurtures all of it.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"


    • Risho
      • May 2010
      • 3179

      Mouse turds are the ground of practice. Mouse turds are the Buddha Way.

      What Dogen says in the following passage, in the Mountain and River Sutra could be extended to Mouse Turds:

      "Some beings see water as wondrous blossoms, but they do not use blossoms as water. Hungry ghosts see water as raging fire or pus and blood. Dragons see water as a palace or a pavilion. Some beings see water as the seven treasures or a wish-granting jewel. Some beings see water as a forest or a wall. Some see it has the dharma nature of pure liberation, the true human body, or as the form of body and essence of mind. Human beings see water as water. Water is seen as dead or alive depending on causes and conditions."

      To a fly, or some other organism, Mouse Turds may be an indispensable part of their diet. To us they are a nuisance.

      Even still, we are humans, and as our place in the world as humans, we should act appropriately as humans and if we see Mouse Turds in our place of residence, we clean them up.

      Just clean them up.

      Mouse Turds.

      But we may see Mouse Turds, as often is the case, and instead of getting straight away to the natural response of cleaning, all of our feelings come to the surface. "Oh no a mouse in my house!" "Am I a clean person?" Always about me, always the center of the universe. An almost instant ego-defense, when all that needs to be done is to address the situation at hand. When I'm at work, and I'm not that busy, sometimes I question my worth.

      Mouse Turds.

      But in reality, no amount of vexation or hyperventilating or ego tantrums does any bit of good, as simply doing what needs to be done.

      Or to steal from more Dogen, grasping for a pillow in the dark as opposed to getting angry or afraid of needing to move a pillow. Just do what needs to be done.

      At the same time, that aversion to the Mouse Turds can bring us to practice, when we are sick of how much power Mouse Turds have over us. The greed, anger and ignorance that is the source of our suffering is also the source of our healing… it was my catalyst to start practice. If there were no Mouse Turds, there would be no practice. If there is no suffering, then the four noble truths are lies. But in my experience, the four noble truths are what bring me back again and again, when I haven't seen a Mouse Turd in a while and think I'm free and clear of all future Mouse Turds.

      Mouse Turds come and go. We must truly embrace the Mouse Turd, or we are just living half of our lives. Actually living in fear of something bad happening that we don't want to happen and only partially happy when things happen how we want them to, always looking ahead to make sure our precious iota of contentment won't leave us. That's not a life.

      Life is all of it, that's why Mouse Turds are the ground of practice. They are the great catalyst of practice, the great reminder of why we practice, and the great bond-maker with other beings so we can appreciate they also have Mouse Turds, so instead of being a source of pain for someone else, we can maybe lessen their burden by the empathy we've gained from practice. And in that way Mouse Turds help us fulfill the Bodhisattva vow.

      Mouse Turds.

      Before this practice, I would want the good times. It's almost as if you can live your life on auto-pilot, not worrying about anything except yourself. Not that worry is good, but just thinking in your own little bubble. I often wonder if the Mouse Turds in my life seem to hurt most because of some actual dislike? Is the real reason I dislike them so much because they shock me out of my auto-pilot mode and bring me back to here where I must act? Sure I'm always acting now, but in auto-pilot there's no skin in the game because my mind isn't here, so to speak. So I'm not fully acting.. .I'm not fully here.. Mouse Turds teach me how to live life more fully.

      Mouse Turds are the awakener.

      And by learning to loosen my feeling of like/dislike so that I can simply clean them up, they help me loosen my grasp of a sense of self that does not change, separate from everything. The desperate clinging to the futile stability of keeping things how "I" want them, to preserve "my" sense of reality.

      In that way, Mouse Turds help me to maintain the precepts. To not put my self front and center, and just to take care of things. The balanced thing to do is to just clean them up, to address whatever comes in life, Mouse Turds or not. To not push away, or wish it weren't so. At the same time, to not hold on to, and try to keep from changing.

      Mouse Turds help me realize that my sense of happiness, true happiness and joy, cannot be founded on such a selfish ego-centric mode of life.

      Mouse Turds.




      • Nameless
        • Apr 2013
        • 461

        A few weeks ago I was staying at a close friend's house for the night. We were talking and listening to music and he was drinking quite a bit. I was sleeping on the couch and awoke to his fiance yelling. Rose up to a peculiar situation. There he was in the kitchen peeing on the floor! Alcohol fueled fugue state most likely.

        I spoke to him and mentioned he was urinating and he mumbled, "It's okay, I'm outside." "Nope, I don't think so. Ya know you're pissing on the kitchen floor?" Don't think he really heard me. So, could only let him finish haha. I guided him back to bed and then started to clean up his pee (the Mouse Turds in this situation). Didn't want his fiance doing it because she's pregnant. Doesn't need that kinda physical strain, plus she'll be cleaning up waste products all the time soon enough.

        She said, "I don't know how you're so calm right now. It's so nasty." "Sure it is, but really it's just pee. No different than anything else. Strange that it's in the kitchen, but still it's not a problem."

        Pee is pee, and pee is not pee. Just like me. I am like that pee. All things are like that pee. Not going to say, "I sure do love cleaning up piss!" but I why would I hate it either? When cleaning it, there's only a figure eight motion. That's all. Beyond neither the pee nor I having an inherent self, when I was cleaning up that booze infused effluence we both were clearly united in the motion. So pee and no pee... me and no me... either way I'm gonna wash my hands.

        Gassho, John


        • Tiwala
          • Oct 2013
          • 201


          Well, to me, I just meet each moment and respond the best way I can with the benefit of myself and others as motivation. This is already enough as even flailing your hands is expressing Buddha flailing hands. Thinking that I am this or not this is sometimes necessary, but really just extra. Just to focus on the job is enough, complete. As it is, comfortable or not.

          Gassho, Ben


          • RichardH
            • Nov 2011
            • 2800

            QUESTION: Please describe how, in your life, one can experience "no separation" and "flying without impediment" right amid a world of "gates and fences, barrier and chains". How can the"mouse turds" of the world be seen as each and all a Buddha Jewel ... even as mouse turds are still mouse turds, and need to be cleaned up as best we can?
            The last "if only" has played out. Just tying loose ends with no thought of tying the last one. An overdue pay cheque arrives just as the big bill comes due. Getting older and no longer having complete control over when I fart. Doing what needs to be done. Getting an oil change. My sweetheart's snore. All good.



            • Heisoku
              • Jun 2010
              • 1338

              QUESTION: Please describe how, in your life, one can experience "no separation" and "flying without impediment" right amid a world of "gates and fences, barrier and chains". How can the"mouse turds" of the world be seen as each and all a Buddha Jewel ... even as mouse turds are still mouse turds, and need to be cleaned up as best we can?
              I try to face what is before me with equanimity, compassion and I just do it, 'like the hand reaching behind the head for a pillow'. What is a mouse turd? a jewel? A vision, a smell, a sensation. Nothing that can be held permanently, and if I prefer one over the other, then I think what difference is it to me?
              Sometimes I feel like this. Gassho.
              Last edited by Heisoku; 01-19-2014, 04:15 PM.
              Heisoku 平 息
              Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)


              • Shokai
                Treeleaf Priest
                • Mar 2009
                • 6391

                I used to hAve a cat that took care of the mice before they left too many turds about. She died; now I live with the turds or clean them up.

                If you want good clean oats you must pay the fair market price. Whereas, if you are willing to accept oats
                that have already been processed through the horse, that comes a little cheaper.

                gassho, Shokai
                gassho, Shokai

                仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

                "Open to life in a benevolent way"



                • Ed
                  • Nov 2012
                  • 223

                  Be color be sound....Color Sound...cause and effect not two.
                  "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
                  Dogen zenji in Bendowa


                  • Shugen
                    Treeleaf Unsui
                    • Nov 2007
                    • 4535

                    The trick for me is just doing/being/saying what is needed right here, right now regardless of "mouse turds" or "gold" distinctions.


                    Meido Shugen
                    明道 修眼


                    • Shinzan
                      • Nov 2013
                      • 338

                      Thanks, Jundo, for returning to this book study.
                      I've been in a situation that will require a long wait. So the waiting is my mouse turds. I recently read, "If there's something that can be done, no worry. If there's nothing that can be done, no worry." Worry is just prolonged fear. So for now, I'm just hanging out with the waiting, to see what that's like. See how my mind tends to chew on things. I definitely know that things will turn out in a way that I cannot possibly imagine now. That's the emptiness part. And I'll just take it as it comes. That's the no separation part. A work in progress.


                      • MyoHo
                        • Feb 2013
                        • 632

                        Say two spaceships go to planet Mars and are planned to, in time, return to Earth with what they have found. After two years, one of the exploring robots signals back to earth it has found gold! An interesting find, full of promise for the future! Space exploration is safe for many years to come. NASA people lose all academic dignity and dance around with their neckties bound around their heads and drink more Champagne then is good for them. The other probe is sadly forgotten in the excitement. A few months later however, the second craft also reports it found something on Mars.....a mouse turd! Which one of the two will be the most anticipated to return?


                        Sticking to "I don't know" or "I don't get it" is a good practice and a belief but with this you will not be able to instruct and help others. It is an inward practice and not outward. To serve, care and experience all that is around us, does not come from chasing selfish gain or enlightenment. Filling the mind with thoughts of particular instructions, would only get the monk in case 31 farther astray. Not "nothing is there" but "everything is there", all complete and whole. Opening up and flowering into reality, both gold and turds manifest the mystery and wonder of our existence and are precious for what they are. Both worth everything and both worth nothing. It is our mind that adds value to gold and make it special. It is our mind that labels where you were born and when. If you decide you want that one single thing and cannot drop it, you will miss out on everything else.

                        Well, this is what comes to mind in this case.




                        • Daitetsu
                          • Oct 2012
                          • 1145

                          Hi there,

                          Both different sides of the same no-sided coin.
                          Emptiness is form and form is emptiness, yet form is also form and emptiness also emptiness.
                          So yes, mouse turds and gold are the same, while at the same time gold is gold and mouse turd is only mouse turd.
                          The art consists in bringing both perspectives under one hat.
                          When we help someone without thinking about it first or the desire to get recognition for it.
                          When we do something good, because we somehow know it's the thing to do.

                          Helping someone in need does not require the act of thinking - we do it automatically, because it is our nature to help others.
                          The precepts are IT.

                          Just my unfiltered thoughts how they spontaneously sprang into my mind, so please forgive if this appears unstructured...


                          Last edited by Daitetsu; 01-23-2014, 07:55 PM.
                          no thing needs to be added