Tuesday Zen with David Weinstein

Damei asked Mazu, “What is awakening?”
Mazu said, “This very mind is awakening.”

This koan is Case 33 in the Gateless Barrier collection. In the verse he composed as a response to this koan, Wumen said:

“‘What is awakening?’ you ask. Hiding the loot, you declare your innocence.”

Wumen’s verse reminds me of a time when I was visiting my grandparents. I had snuck into the kitchen to get a cookie, which was in my grandmother’s ceramic owl cookie jar. After tiptoeing into the kitchen slowly to not make any sound, I carefully lifted the head off the owl and placed it on the counter, again careful to not make any sound. I had to stand on my toes to reach up and into the space where the owl’s head had been, and then down into the bowels of the owl to snag a cookie. Just as my fingers reached a cookie my grandmother came into the kitchen and said “What are you doing?” And I said, “Nothing.”

As I look back on that experience, I realize that the loot I was hiding was not the cookie. Had I not been hiding the ‘real’ loot, I would have said, “I’m getting a cookie.”

Got any loot you’re hiding?

—David Weinstein

David Weinstein Roshi


COME JOIN US us on Tuesdays for koan meditation, dharma talk and conversation. All are welcome. Register to participate.

David Weinstein Roshi,
Director of Rockridge Meditation Community