Friday, April 23, 2010

The Genjokoan

Zen master Baoche of Mt. Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, "Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. Why, then, do you fan yourself?"

"Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent," Baoche replied, "you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere."

"What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?" asked the monk again. The master just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.

The actualization of the buddha-dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind.
From “The Issue at Hand,” the Genjokoan, by Dogen.

The complete koan and other translations are here: CLICK

I’m thinking this is just another way of saying:
If you believe that there is something lacking, it is not quite so. But if you think there is nothing to do, nothing needed, that is not quite so.
Elihu Genmyo Smith

Which is to say, even though the Self unfolds Itself, by Itself, to Itself – it can feel like you’re working your butt off.

But, hey, I may be wrong… it’s a KOAN.

And it doesn’t seem to tally all that well with Nisargadatta:

There are no steps to self-realization. There is nothing gradual about it. It happens suddenly and is irreversible....Just like on sunrise you see things as they are, so on self-realization you see everything as it is. The world of illusions is left behind.

But then, dawn is not at all like high noon.

As I waited for the bus to approach, something in consciousness was loosening somehow. And when it got there--I am sure it had nothing to do with the bus driving up--this reference point of an "I," a someone that everything was about and that everything that occurred in life was structured around, was gone. It was like a switch had been turned off. And it was never to turn on again. The first response that the mind had to this completely ungraspable experience was absolute terror; but that terror never changed the experience for a moment… Towards the end of the ten years, there was a clear awareness that this was not something that was going to go away…

[So] I found a Zen teacher up in Northern California who told me that I was seeing with the eyes of the ancients; his assurances that the fear reaction was just a season and that spring would come were very helpful. …I saw that the presence of fear meant only one thing - it meant that fear was present. …

Shortly after realizing this, I had the experience while driving that I was driving through myself to get to someplace that I already was, because in fact I was everywhere. I wasn't going any place because I was already everywhere. There was a shift from no personal self, no "me," to seeing that this experience of no personal self was actually the substance of everything.
That is when the springtime began…
Suzanne Segal

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