BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 46

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39074

    BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 46

    Case 45 never ends, yet now comes ...

    Case 46: Tokusan's Completion of Study

    The Book of Equanimity contains the first-ever complete English language commentary on one of the most beloved classic collections of Zen teaching stories (koans), making them vividly relevant to spiritual seekers and Zen students in the twenty-first century. Continually emphasizing koans as effective tools to discover and experience the deepest truths of our being, Wick brings the art of the koan to life for those who want to practice wisdom in their daily lives. The koan collection Wick explores here is highly esteemed as both literature and training material in the Zen tradition, in which koan-study is one of two paths a practitioner might take. This collection is used for training in many Zen centers in the Americas and in Europe but has never before been available with commentary from a contemporary Zen master. Wick's Book of Equanimity includes new translations of the preface, main case and verse for each koan, and modern commentaries on the koans by Wick himself.


    I believe that Zen Practice truly comes to fruit when one can experience, through and through beyond doubt, the Flowing Wholeness of Emptiness whenever and wherever one wishes (not necessarily constantly, but almost) ... like pushing a button to turn on the light, all is illuminated (even if, sometimes, the switch don't work ) ... looking at the pencil on our desk, in the presence of a friend or enemy, judging a majestic mountain or a tin can at the side of the road, in all the ocean as well as in a single drop, as the fish or the fish scale, reading the most heart-rending stories in the newspaper or experiencing the most heart-rending or heart-fulfilling moments of our life, in a temple or in the shopping mall, in the face of the greatest happinesses and tragedies and in betweens ...

    ... timelessly wherever and whenever (though not always constantly), when Buddha Mind is summoned (even if sometimes a little hard to summon up), all becomes Clear. Instant attainment in each and every such instant.

    In this way, Wisdom and Compassion are something like knowing True Love. One cannot merely know love from some description in a book, nor on an intellectual and philosophical level. No psychologist nor the greatest poet has ever come close to love lived. It is not a hollywood movie or a cheap novel. True Love with a life partner is not to be confused with a one night stand, a crush, a marriage of convenience or the "we'll live on love alone" romance of the honeymoon when all seems golden and beyond all care. Rather, True Love only proves itself as the years flow by, the relationship deepens, and together a couple stands As One through all the happinesses and tragedies of life. It manifests when, like old Shakyo, life grabs us by the nose and gives us a hard pull. Then, the power of love is known.

    And like the honeymoon, one can think that some sudden and powerful "Kensho" is what all the fuss is about, when "all we need is love". Well, as thrilling as that might be, it is still light years away from True Love where the real power or weakness of the relationship must be shown where the rubber meets life's road ... when there are bills to be paid, children demanding attention, health crisis and all the rest, the Moon of Enlightenment far beyond the honey. Emptiness ain't worth nothing unless manifesting even as life has you up to the neck in mud. (Thus our reading says, "The pure ground [of Emptiness] without an inch of grass for 10,000 miles or the clear sky without even a speck of clouds [the "grass" and "clouds" representing the separate individual phenomena of life and our thoughts] still deludes people [who cannot find Enlightenment even in each blade of grass and shining through and as the clouds of thought, in each separate phenomenon of life both beautiful and ugly and everything else]" ...

    In fact, like True Love it is even there when we have our doubts. It might not be tasted in every single moment, and sometimes we may wonder if we have lost the way, fallen out of love. Yet, soon, it manifests again and we know.

    And so for this Practice too, for Enlightenment, as the proof is in the pudding, and one knows such when one embodies and experiences such beyond doubt. Realization is obvious in how life is realized. At such point, the Buddha shuts his mouth, and can be hung from the wall like a dusty old map no longer needed by the fellow who knows the way. When you know this, the universe is not impeded and space will not fall, no matter what nails and wedges are knocked in or pulled out.

    QUESTION: WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HANG THE BUDDHA FROM A HOOK? DO YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS TRUE LOVE?

    Shishin Wick says, "When you're sitting facing the wall ... if you think it's you facing the wall [or the wall facing you], then what is it? When you can let go of the separation between you and the wall, then what's revealed? If you don't realize it, then it's just an idea up in your head. You have to see how it functions when your're facing the wall. When the entire body and mind is facing the wall, then the wall is facing the wall. ... If the body and mind are then entire body and mind hanging in space, it is the body and mind of the universal emptiness. And if not, it's just some kind of an idea, some kind of a concept ..."

    I sometimes say this on wall facing ...

    Traditionally, Soto Zennies would "face the wall". I actually think it is better for less experienced sitters to do so, as it reduces the sensory stimuli, thereby facilitating calming the mind. In the West, many groups in the Harada-Yasutani Lineage (through the Maezumi Roshi Lineage and others) who combine Soto and Rinzai Practices sit facing inwards.

    I tend to encourage folks to "face the wall", but it is not so important. I believe that the sitters' "looking downward toward the floor" also reduces sensory stimulation, so the effect is about the same. For more experienced sitters, I do not believe that it matters ... and, in fact, we should develop the ability to sit anywhere, however noisy, busy or distracting.

    I was surprised when, a couple of years ago, I conducted an unofficial poll among teachers who are members of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of North America, and found that most of the Soto teachers seemed to be open to sitting either way.

    Anyway ... the historical reason may be a mistranslation of Bodhidharma, regarded as the First Patriarch of Ch'an or the Zen tradition, and a writing long attributed to him (The Two Entrances and Four Practices) that used the term in Chinese "biguan/pi-kuan". Historian Heinrich Dumoulin discusses Bodhidharma's wall-contemplation.

    "In an ancient text ascribed to Bodhidharma, his way of meditation is characterized by the Chinese word pi-kuan, literally wall-gazing or wall-contemplation. Except for the word pi-kuan, the same passage is found in a Mahayana sutra; it reads: "When one, abandoning the false and embracing the true, in simplicity of thought abides in pi-kuan, one finds that there is neither selfhood nor otherness, that ordinary men (prthagjana) and saints (arya) are of one essence." (Zen Enlightenment, p. 38).
    The actual meaning of "wall gazing" may not be a literal "sit while gazing at a wall", but closer to "sit as if a wall seeing". Nobody really knows what the term originally meant however. The great Zen Historian Yanagida Seizan has (ala Shikantaza) interpreted the term to denote a sort of witnessing of the world with the steadfast detachment of a wall in which one “gazes intently at a vibrantly alive śunyatā (emptiness).”

    So, whether facing the wall, or away from the wall ... just sit, without thought of in or out.
    QUESTION: CAN ONE SIT AS A WALLLESS WALL, BUDDHA FACING BUDDHA, FACING IN AND OUT?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-09-2014, 11:55 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Shinzan
    Member
    • Nov 2013
    • 338

    #2
    At times, wall-gazing feels more like facing the wall of my own conditioned thoughts tumbling out. At times, the wall gazes at itself. Everywhere you go, there you are. Still mind, crazy mind, all bouncing along. The space between wall and itself being big enough to hold it all.
    And yet, time to clean the bathroom.
    _/\_ Shinzan
    Last edited by Shinzan; 10-06-2014, 03:44 PM.

    Comment

    • Myosha
      Member
      • Mar 2013
      • 2974

      #3
      Hello,

      * * * hanging the Buddha on the hook * * *

      * * * sitting zazen * * *


      Gassho,
      Myosha
      Last edited by Myosha; 10-10-2014, 01:38 PM.
      "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

      Comment

      • RichardH
        Member
        • Nov 2011
        • 2800

        #4
        DO YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS TRUE LOVE?
        Yes. Beautiful Tathagata, heart of hearts.

        Gassho
        Daizan

        Comment

        • pinoybuddhist
          Member
          • Jun 2010
          • 462

          #5
          Gassho,
          Raf

          Comment

          • Myoku
            Member
            • Jul 2010
            • 1487

            #6
            Originally posted by Jundo
            QUESTION: CAN ONE SIT AS A WALLLESS WALL, BUDDHA FACING BUDDHA, FACING IN AND OUT?
            Gassho, J
            One can only sit this way, though maybe not knowing. I tend to forget. Again and again. Its good we come back every so often to this place.
            Thank you Jundo and everyone reading along,
            Gassho
            Myoku

            Comment

            • Risho
              Member
              • May 2010
              • 3179

              #7
              Originally posted by Jundo

              QUESTION: WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HANG THE BUDDHA FROM A HOOK? DO YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS TRUE LOVE?
              Practice is endless; it never ends. we must practice every day.

              Originally posted by Jundo

              QUESTION: CAN ONE SIT AS A WALLLESS WALL, BUDDHA FACING BUDDHA, FACING IN AND OUT?
              Absolutely. When we drop all divisions and thoughts, while in Shikantaza or off the mat.

              Gassho,

              Risho
              Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39074

                #8
                Originally posted by Risho
                Practice is endless; it never ends. we must practice every day.
                Thank you for the reminder. Buddha off the wall and on the wall at once. What walls?

                Gassho, J (pardon the off the wall comment)
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Risho
                  Member
                  • May 2010
                  • 3179

                  #9
                  LOL

                  I was just thinking about True Love. I remember being "in love" with someone I dated for a couple of years during college. But while I thought that was true love then, it was so volatile (nothing violent or abusive).. I mean by volatile that I was so attached to the person, that I began to change my demeanor so that I would feel invincible. This was when I was 18 - 21, so the testosterone is flowing at full peak. lol

                  When we broke up, it devastated me, but I had to do it because I could not keep up the act anymore. She didn't ask that of me, but in my heart I knew we weren't right for each other, but my hormones thought otherwise, and man hormones make a young man do crazy things.

                  Now when I met my wife a couple of years later, I just knew immediately that everything fit. I know this sounds corny, but she moved in with me after 2 months of dating. Now I was paying my friend's mortgage so he could go to school, and my wife and I shared a small bedroom and slept on a twin bed. I mean this was crazy, but it was great. And this is the corny part; we could just be together and she'd watch me play video games (good ones.. I'm talking Final Fantasy VIII mind you :P ). But I had never had that before.

                  I just thought about this when taking my dog out today; although sometimes I miss those times in my youth -- I guess that's just part of getting older, I love where I am right now, and I'm lucky. The love we share isn't the volatile love dependent on appearances or how good I feel that I look or how strong I feel I am to ward off other potential suitors. lol My love is like a deep river or an ocean. Sometimes on the surface it gets stormy, but underneath there is a stillness that somehow knows it's all ok, even when it gets really messed up. It's ok to be messed up. I think we are all messed up.. man the thoughts I see on the cushion. hahaha

                  But the main thing is I realized, I am not happy if she is not happy. There is individualism in marriage, but the bond takes precedence. You have to think of the other as yourself. It's a vow that I fail to live up to, but it's also a vow that was natural between us.

                  I think true love is an apt comparison to zazen because we take vows that we fail at, but they feel natural or we have a calling to take them. And at first, and I still don't know all that they mean, but I certainly feel what they add to my life. That's sort of how I find this practice, just doing it is important... and then slowly, very, very slowly things start to make sense.. but then there are a ton of questions that never get answered. lol

                  And also like true love, as time goes on our Bodhisattva vows that we've planted grow stronger and we start to be able to more appropriately help people (and that may mean doing absolutely nothing) because we can more closely empathize with them. And instead of being pissed off at having to do zazen when you'd rather play Castlevania IV, you are thankful for the opportunity to sit because it really does make a difference, especially when "you" don't get in the way or care about taking credit for sitting.. when you and the wall are no longer 1 and no longer 2.

                  Just some ramblings.

                  Also, Jundo I wanted to thank you for your commentary on these koans. I would really be lost without them.

                  Gassho,

                  Risho
                  Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                  Comment

                  • Meishin
                    Member
                    • May 2014
                    • 805

                    #10
                    Having lunch with an engineer friend, hearing him describe a successful test, knowing nothing about such things myself but being utterly captured by the joy in his eyes. Nirvana is here. Now.

                    Gassho
                    John

                    Comment

                    • Kantai

                      #11
                      The Buddha is hanging at the wall you're gazing at. The wall, Buddha, true love, you and me is one. To see this we need to tear down the wall and go outside while facing inward. Then put up the wall and go inside.

                      Gassho
                      Kantai

                      Comment

                      • jeff_u
                        Member
                        • Jan 2013
                        • 130

                        #12
                        True love exists only in the moment, but is timeless. If you know true love, it's like locking a flower in a box--what kind of flower will be in there when you open the box years later!? If you embrace true love you work moment to moment potting, watering, and sometimes letting go. The wall is true love. Never knowing, always doing/non-doing, yet still holding up the universe.

                        Gassho,
                        Jeff

                        Comment

                        • Jishin
                          Member
                          • Oct 2012
                          • 4819

                          #13
                          1) QUESTION: WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU CAN HANG THE BUDDHA FROM A HOOK? When.

                          2) DO YOU ALREADY KNOW THIS TRUE LOVE?
                          Do.

                          3) QUESTION: CAN ONE SIT AS A WALLLESS WALL, BUDDHA FACING BUDDHA, FACING IN AND OUT? Can.



                          Gassho, Jishin

                          Comment

                          • Diarmuid1
                            Member
                            • Oct 2014
                            • 45

                            #14
                            What is true love? Love is always true. If it is not true, it is not love. It defines itself in the moment, not over the years; it denies itself in the moment, not after all the years. True love can only ever really be known once it has ended.

                            The pure ground deceives the people who think it is pure ground; the empty sky deludes the people who think it is empty sky. Ground is not ground; sky is not sky; love is not love; true is not true. When words are exhausted, is this our attainment? If so, the faces of all the buddhas can hang on the wall. And then, when we face the wall, we face the buddhas and ourselves.


                            Diarmuid

                            #S2D

                            Comment

                            • AlanLa
                              Member
                              • Mar 2008
                              • 1405

                              #15
                              I got nothing on these:
                              True love? Nope, gave up on that
                              Buddha on a hook? Eh, ok, less violent sounding than killing him, I suppose
                              Wallless wall? Not lately, says monkey mind

                              But I got this:
                              Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes the one who's roaring with laughter cries. Sometimes we sit. Sometimes we stand. Yet we want to make something more out of it. To see the one who roars with laughter, exhaust the end! Just look into yourself and see…. Just see who you are. And in seeing who you are, let that manifest as your life.
                              That's my koan within the koan, both my journey and destination, exhausted and exhausting.
                              Last edited by AlanLa; 10-17-2014, 03:06 PM.
                              AL (Jigen) in:
                              Faith/Trust
                              Courage/Love
                              Awareness/Action!

                              I sat today

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