Sat Apr 18

Spring, week 5
"If you lose the spirit of repetition, your practice will become quite difficult." - Shunryu Suzuki
Saturday Zen Service, Apr 18: 10:00am - 11:45am.

Reading for this week: "Single-Minded Way" from Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. (For Amazon, ORDER HERE.)

This week's case: Gateless Gate #19, "Ordinary Mind is the Way'"

Zhaozhou earnestly asked Nanquan, "What is the Way?"
Nanquan answered, "The ordinary mind is the Way."
Zhaozhou asked, "Should I direct myself toward it or not?"
Nanquan said, "If you try to turn toward it, you go against it."
Zhaozhou asked, "If I do not try to turn toward it, how can I know that it is the Way?"
Nanquan answered, "The Way does not belong to knowing or not-knowing. Knowing is delusion; not-knowing is a blank consciousness. When you have really reached the true Way beyond all doubt, you will find it as vast and boundless as the great empty firmament. How can it be talked about on a level of right and wrong?"
At these words, Zhaozhou was suddenly enlightened.

Wumen's Commentary:
Nanquan was asked a question by Zhaozhou, and Nanquan's base was shattered and melted away. He could not justify himself. Even though Zhaozhou has come to realization, he will have to delve into it for another thirty years before he can realize it fully.

Wumen's Verse:
The spring flowers, the moon in autumn,
The cool breezes of summer, the winter's snow;
If idle concerns do not cloud the mind,
This is man's happiest reason.

Jingshan's Commentary:
The ancient spilled his guts all at once. The sky-scraping galcon should take advantage of the tim; the tired fish resting in the shallows wastes the effort to stir up waves.

Fojian's Verse:
If you want to know the normal Way,
Trust nature spontaneously.
When you row a boat, you need to raise the oars;
When you ride a horse, you apply the crop.
If you get hungry, obtain some food;
And you should sleep when tired.
All is attained through conditions.
Yet what is attained is not a condition.

Gushan's Verse:
If you think the normal mind is the Way,
You produce more ramifications on top of ramifications.
If you have taken off the sweaty shirt sticking to your flesh,
Given a call you find eyebrows atop your eyes.


One of the lines from this koan was used in this cartoon:

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