Wednesday night we worked with Yumen's koan:
Yunmen said, “In the center of the cosmos, inside heaven and earth, there is one treasure, hidden in the body. It picks up a lantern and goes into the meditation hall. It brings the great three arched entrance gate and puts it on top of the lantern.”
We sat, and the koan was spoken into the room.
After walking meditation, we sat and we went around the room, asked to put ourselves into the room by naming a part of our bodies that hurt . Just that. With the notion of exploring the myth that awakening occurs in the mind. That we sit and strive in spite of our bodies.
Lower back pain...flat feet...face and head pain...grey hair...tights shoulder...aching hips...bouncing hearts...shaking hands....broken thumbs...headaches...tired...bad knees...
Then we stood. We were asked to squat slightly as we began our second meditation. Just notice the burn in the legs and sit when it was time to sit.
Then we talked about the koan. About placing the gate on top of the lantern. We talked about the light, and finding it, the joy of being at the center of the cosmos.
Frankly, I don't know how it touched people. It touched me to hear that we were not golden buddhas, perfect and painless, but human buddhas, beat up getting to the finish line. We find our awakening not in spite of our aches and pains and aging and death, but because of it.
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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