Monday, April 23, 2012

Koan: the Monk and his Hoe

Koan Study Group, Book of Equanimity,
Case 15: Kyozan Thrusts His Hoe into the Ground
(The Zen master plants his mattock)

To know before a word is spoken is called "the silent utterance."
To not be bright but reveal itself is called "the dark activity."
Place the palms together in front of the three gates and in both hallways they promenade.
Such empathy there is!
Dance in the middle garden and at the back gate a head is moved.
How about that!

Isan asked Kyozan, "Where did you come from?"
Kyozan replied, "I came from the fields."
Isan asked, "How many were in the fields?"
Kyozan thrust his hoe into the ground and stood with his hands folded on his chest.
Isan then said, "On the Southern Mountain, a great number of people reap thatch."
Kyozan pulled up his hoe and immediately left.

The old awakened one, with deep feeling, considers his descendents.
But now he's spurred on to uphold his household.
Keep in mind the part about the Southern Mountain:
With it inlaid in bone, engraved on the skin,
Let's show our gratitude together.

Wisdom Quarterly
Then Roshi Albrizze led meditators through a subtle and illuminating explanation of Case 15. This koan illustrates that koans are not riddles in search of punchlines. In Zen Buddhism a koan is a paradoxical anecdote used to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment or at least satori, that is, an epiphany. hosts free zazen (sitting meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), and koan study Thursday evenings in Pasadena, California. All are welcome. For those wanting to participate at a distance, there is an online forum and MeetUp group.

[Just when you thought it was safe to leave Catholicism... we take our traumatic childhoods and act out somewhere else.] It seems rare to hear of a sexual abuse scandal in the Buddhist world, but [in 2010] there was one brewing for some time now in American Zen circles:
"This article, among other revelations, presents a face of Zen not ordinarily visible to the general public. That is, how well known Zen rōshis and leading Zen figure...

1 comment:

Jeff Albrizze said...

thanks for the mention of Pasa Dharma. For me, the best part of our meetings is sitting zazen with you, and our sangha. I am truly privileged to know so many Buddhas!