2017-11-23

Verses on Koans, IV

Book of Serenity #49
Silent, I unconscionably allow the lies to stand.
Speaking, I only introduce new lies.
Sit, stand, walk, eat, wash, sleep.
Speaking or silent,
Dustless truth presents continuously.
Sit, stand, walk, eat, wash, sleep.
2017 Nov
Book of Serenity #56
Dashing rabbit zips past. So swift!
Rabbit-watching uncle stands motionless. So swift!
"Wherever you go, there you are" --
And somewhere else, too. So swift!
2017 Nov
Book of Serenity #89
There is a plot I plant and weed assiduously.
Other areas grow mostly wild:
I support an occasional sapling, maybe cull a little.
Then there are forests I traverse without changing.
I have seen the earth all bare, and see it bare now,
All its growth transparent.
2017 Dec
Book of Serenity #67
Gotama, privilege-born, home-leaver, family-abandoner
Perceived a line, and himself on the bad side:
Not enlightened nor awake, knowing neither truth nor peace,
Possessing neither wisdom nor virtue.
When the morning star saw Gotama,
The illusion of that line lifted.
Each being "possesses the wisdom and virtue of Tathagata,"
He said, "All achieve the way together."
Then Gotama perceived another line,
And himself on the good side.
On the other side:
Beings, because of delusions and attachments,
Not realizing, knowing, seeing their own wisdom, virtue, enlightenment.
"I should teach them," he said.
Suppose next the evening star had seen Gotama,
Had lifted the illusion of his new line.
Doesn't every lifting of an illusory line
Draw another illusory line:
Between the illusion and its lifting?

The path leads nowhere.
I walk it.
Gotama has nothing to teach.
I study.
There is no practice, and I practice.
The lines come and go and come again
And go again.
2017 Dec
Blue Cliff Record #73, Book of Serenity #6
I love this beautiful monk,
Adjudged clueless by a millennium of Zen teachers,
and his beautiful question:
   What is this Zen,
   when all of us are enlightened from the beginning?
   What happens when we sit in that posture we sit in?
   How can it be anything? How can it seem to be something?
I love his imperviousness to Nagarjuna's pliers:
   Bodhidharma came from the west, didn't come from the west,
   Both did and didn't, neither did nor didn't --
   and 100 negations of these.
I love that he is undaunted,
The question still carries him,
And he it.
Mazu and and two senior disciples
Have their nice answers:
   I can't explain it.
   I can't explain it.
   I understand nothing about that.

Those are fine pine-tree answers.
And what else could they say? The pine tree
Answers everything.
Yet still my man keeps asking.
I love that about him.
Five patient explanations he receives of the meaning for which he asks:
   I'm tired.
   Why don't you ask our master?
   I have a headache.
   I don't understand.
   This is white and that is black.

Each is as true as the day is long.
But I love this monk because he doesn't let me forget
That the meaning is
   Please tell me directly, Master, the meaning --
Nor that this query is not put to rest
By philosophy or pine trees.
The master and his top students must apprehend
that this beloved novice's persistence
Outshines their shining answers.
2018 Jan

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