We meet on alternating Tuesday eves—
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Hello friends,

We are hosting a group conversation twice a month—largely because we thought it would be fun and simultaneously stimulating in the ways koan practice provides—full body and deep tissue! We are in accord with the old Chan teachers who believed that conversations with others could be decisive in waking up to our original nature.

On Tuesday, June 15: To the Rescue! – Fixing the Fan

Coming to the rescue is a human practice with deep roots. It’s difficult to fault an action that makes both parties feel good – the rescuer and the rescued. It seems a small step from ‘do no harm’ to ‘stop harm from being done’. While some situations are pretty clear cut – do pull that small child’s hand away from the hot stove, others are clearly not – trying to pull an adult child’s hand away from hot life. Or trying to pull my own hand away from hot, or cold, life.

Chris: There is a way I can see my life as a continuous series of mendings, often from rents I’ve torn. But the brokenness of the world also shines brightly before me, from this POV. And what is broken needs to be fixed.

The view of reality offered by the Rhino koan is not about improving our ability to fix things, both inner and outer things. It’s about that which does not need fixing, which does not require mending. It’s about that which makes possible a world where tearing and stitching abound. Sometimes the Rhino knocks on our door, sometimes we answer the door, all 800 lbs of us. Come and share with us times of rescue, and encountering the Rhino beyond rescue.

Corey: Uh oh! I feel it. I am heading off again to the rescue. I feel the tug of unnecessary interference in my own trajectory. Someone I care about is overburdened, or seems so in their dialogues with me and the universe. I want to help. That is compassionate assistance, isn’t it? It’s right to help out, no? I would argue that sometimes even the one rescued knows there’s too much drama going on. I can also be the one that needs rescue – from myself. The self that ignores signposts, accepts the poison apple, heads into the chats with the wolf.

I recently uncovered a hidden saboteur in myself. This was during Part 1 of the ‘Pure Vows as Koans’ meditation, with Allison Atwill, Tess Beasley & Jesse Cardin: Do No Harm! was the vow.

I suddenly saw my little Red Riding Hood complex setting off, in target red, to save the day. Confident in my assessment that “I can, and so I must do this.” Why not? What could possibly go wrong?

What is it in me that needs saving when I set off in this way? I often know that I am caught and proceed anyway. Is rescuing or fixing necessarily a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ idea? Hmmmm. “What big eyes you have!” “The better to see you with, my dear.”

A KOAN that emerged in our conversations:

Yanguan’s Rhinoceros Fan (BCR 91):

Once upon a time in China, the governor gave a rare fan carved of rhinoceros horn to a Zen Master, who forgot about it. Then he remembered. He called to his assistant, “Bring me the rhinoceros fan.” The assistant said, “It is broken.” The master said, “In that case, bring me the rhinoceros.”


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