2017-08-29

Ten Verses on Koans I

Responses to koans in Gateless Gate, Blue Cliff Record, and Book of Serenity.

Book of Serenity 4
Mountains, rivers, God’s green earth
Spring sanguinaria, autumn moonlight,
Lightning flashes light up the pines.
Indra would have more quickly built the temple
Had he left the grass stalk where it was.
2015 Jun
Gateless Gate 32, Blue Cliff Record 65
Such earnestness and no asking.
Miles and miles beneath the sun and under the moon
Climbing mountains, crossing rivers, getting lost in the woods:
A long journey for nothing.
2015 Jun
Blue Cliff Record 92, Book of Serenity 1
Each moment, a gavel bang.
Each moment as sharp as that whack.
This is the Dharma of the Dharma-King.
Birthless, deathless, thunderingly silent.
2015 Aug
Gateless Gate 42
Buddhas gather so they can return to their original dwelling.
They return so they can gather again at the next Buddha party.
She, unnamed and untitled,
Her light and its snares one,
Surpasses their backing and forthing.
2015 Aug
Blue Cliff Record 94, Book of Serenity 88
When the beloved's smile lights up your world, you don't see it.
Isn't it just you, through and through: smile, light, beloved?
Later, groping for the memory, you believe you saw it,
And the world dims. Also you.
2015 Aug
Blue Cliff Record 97, Book of Serenity 58
The people hate you, of course.
They know you for the liar, the thief, the murderer that you are.
Can you be saved? Redeemed?
Maybe. Just tell me this:
How deeply grateful are you for their hatred?
2015 Sep
Gateless Gate 6
If you are genuine,
like a running brook, like a crow,
Or like that weed in Buddha's hand,
Then the treasury is transmitted to you
Every time you smile, and
Every time you don't.
If you ask, "how can I become genuine?" then you are lost.
Sit down, shut up, and see
That you have never not been.
2015 Oct
Gateless Gate 22
Breathing in, Ananda. Breathing out, yes, Master.
Breathing in, yes, Master. Breathing out, Ananda.
Breathing in, flagpole knocked down. Breathing out, flagpole raised.
Breathing in, flagpole raised. Breathing out, flagpole knocked down.
2015 Oct
Blue Cliff Record 84, Book of Serenity 48
Watch them play, Manjusri and Vimalakirti.
See the one's chatter enact the other's silence.
The one's silence enact the other's chatter.
Watch them play, Xuedou and Hongzhi,
Recapitulating the ancients.
All the words there ever were are contained in your silence.
The vast and void silence is contained in your every word.
How then will you speak? How remain silent?
How enter the gate of Not-Two?
2015 Oct
Blue Cliff Record 78
Just find fifteen intimate friends,
And follow the rule.
The water takes care of everything.
Nothing to pierce. Nothing to break through.
2015 Oct


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