Bos. Koan 25 from the Book of Serenity One day Yanguan called to his attendant, “Bring me the rhinoceros fan.” The attendant said, “The fan is broken.” Yanguan said, “If the fan is broken, then bring me back the rhinoceros!” The attendant had no reply. Zifu drew a circle and wrote the word ‘rhino’ inside it. … Continue reading BOS. 25 Yanguan’s Rhinoceros Fan
Usually we answer the koan, “What is your original face?” with an emptiness response. It is a koan used to help Zen practitioners drop the stories and structures they believe as “self” and enter into a connection with ultimate existence. Sometimes, it’s even supplemented by saying, “What is your original face before your parents were … Continue reading What is your original face?
Sometimes to understand a koan or a passage from Dogen, it’s necessary to understand the language or a phrase. The phrases often have a symbolic or metaphorical meaning. Part of the beauty of Zen is our tradition of poetic images. Instead of using traditional technical language, our ancestors really challenged each other to come up … Continue reading Raising his eyebrows and blinking his eyes
After doing another lecture on the 5 Ranks of Dongshan, I found some good language to describe it. I talked about the 5 Ranks being the landscape of enlightenment that you move around in. Sometimes hiking the mountains, sometimes in the forest, sometimes sitting calmly by the stream. We move around the different positions but … Continue reading Addendum to the 5 Ranks
There is some disagreements over the 5 Ranks of Dongshan within the Soto School. Some people say that it is too much of a developmental step-ladder and loses the “nowness” and immediacy of “each moment is enlightenment”. In my lineage, the labeling of a “kensho” is looked down upon because we usually end up clinging … Continue reading Dongshan’s Five Ranks