More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

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  • Taigu
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
    • Aug 2008
    • 2710

    More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

    You may use koan as you would throw a stone into a beautiful still pond, to enjoy the ripples it makes and appreciate the deep quality and transparency of its water.
    You may use a koan to provoke and challenge the logical mind, to bypass its natural defences
    You may also use it to check, qualify, name an experience, a way of mapping
    You may look at them as strange and magical devices
    You may think they are the key to the door (which door?)
    You may use it as little story about distant relatives and old family history.
    You may do lots of things with koans from quoting them in conversations with friends to reading them as nature calls...

    Dogen loved koans, but certainly not for the above reasons. Not only.
    As Jundo reminds us, his work can be seen as a tapestry of koans, a kesa made of koan-patches.
    His invitation is to see and experience life as the primary and ultimate koan. Spontaneous manifestation of the koan in everyday activity.

    So...What does it mean? Don't know really. But let me have a go...

    It basically means you are not wrestling with the d... riddle and trying to figure out an answer, verbal or non verbal. It means that you swallow the koan and perceive-experience reality from its space, the koan speaks, eats, walks and acts. It also means than the tiniest thing appears to you in the full glory of its wonder. The doing and going in this world are seen as the koan arising and its instant answer. Questions and answers are one in this. In silent sitting, Zanmai O Zanmai, question and answer collapse and forget each other. Neither nor. Both and none of them.

    In just sitting, the sound you make, the bell and the person striking it are not three.

    I don't use koans. And always return to the calm brightness of shikantaza,the house of all koans. There you may share some tea with Bodhidharma and chat eyes in eyes with Keizan.

  • Tb
    • Jan 2008
    • 3186

    Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting



    Fugen (about to take on the koan of half a cup of coffee..)
    Life is our temple and its all good practice


    • Rich
      • Apr 2009
      • 2601

      Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

      Breathing in is the question, breathing out is the answer.
      Without a view, no breathing.
      Washing the face, eating the meal is holy and complete.
      Just like this makes life and death.
      無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...


      • Eika
        • Sep 2007
        • 806

        Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

        Bows to you, Taigu

        [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage


        • Shogen
          • Dec 2008
          • 301

          Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

          Hello Taigu,
          Thank you for this teaching.
          Perhaps one more you may: You may use Koans to perplex and agitate yourself. A good dose of agitation for today would be, " what's the sound of one hand clapping?"
          Gassho, Shogen


          • KellyRok
            • Jul 2008
            • 1374

            Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting


            Thank you for your teachings! A cup of coffee, a chat with my husband, a game with my children...these are my Saturday koans.

            Kelly - Jinmei


            • JohnsonCM
              • Jan 2010
              • 549

              Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

              I don't know, I find some koans useful. I don't hold them during zazen or anything, but some help to make me introspective of the path. For instance the koan that says:

              One day while walking the World-Honored One pointed to the ground and said, "This would be a good place to build a temple."
              Indra plucked a stem of grass and planted it where the Tathagata pointed and said, "The temple has been built."
              The World-Honored One smiled.

              This to me is a reminder that all of life is our temple, and fundamentally, there is no degree of separation between a blade of grass and the most awe inspiring of temple complexes. The simple, living, solitary blade of grass reminds me to honor all life, all experience, and all the world as the most perfect and complete temple. I like them because I just may be in the frame of mind when I read it to have a smidgen of kensho.
              Sat today


              • Kent
                • Feb 2008
                • 193

                Re: More useless mumbling about koans and sitting

                Thank you for inviting us into "the house of all koans". Gassho