What does abiding mean? When am I abiding? What can I NOT abide? Not rest in? Meditation is mostly about returning to abide. Whatever it means – not following the rules, not abiding them is that resting place.
So you are thinking about your loved ones, your ancestors and decide to take a trip out to the cemetery. You find your family vault and with a key open the stone door and step inside. You won’t stay long, you just want to pay your respects. But a gust of wind comes up and…
That dog knew what she was doing when she ‘dogged’. Zhaozhou also says ‘Yes’, a dog has Buddha nature. Becoming a dog who knew what she was doing is encouraging. Maybe something isn’t wrong with the dog you are right now.
The dog part of the koan emerges from the resounding NO as a companion for the inner life. Humans and dogs have been companions for eons and are clearly in the fossil record from ancient times. Through this long relationship down through time, dogs have learned to relate and map us and our inner lives. What is our relationship to the natural world? Dogs help us remember there is no separation, as does meditation practice.
Often we chase out and look for things, but when things come toward us – that’s enlightenment. In retreat, time expands and the universe appears. The art and craft of koan practice – freeing the heart and mind.
In the beginning of things something always happened, a birth, a death, a famine, a war. Good and bad were entangled. In order to understand our lives and how to manage we’ve always made up stories. What does the mind do with things that happen to us – our attitudes and stances and more.
In practice you are traveling, you are on a path. It is different from a plan because you are on uncertain turf. Practice also has more love in it because you are moving in the dark in a positive way. The koan is like the dog that follows you around with a bowl – it foils your serious plans.
A discovery that all the Linji koans we are working with during the retreat are variants on: ‘There’s Nothing I Dislike’. They all appear from this core. The solitary brightness with no fixed shape or form is yours. If you ‘Only don’t object’, or exclude the reality, the brightness is there.
David and his history with Linji’s teachings, a story of ‘sleepy zazen’, the arc of a practice and how his ideas of what practice would deliver changed. Meeting the disturbing practice of zen koans!
The construction of a ME and the positive experience of losing it. The strategies of ME allows the universe to come in and establish our true place in it. There is nothing to dislike. When the world comes to meet us we realize there is only this.
‘We’d give anything for the life we have.’ – Says poet Tony Hoagland. Take the role of host wherever you are, no special undertakings necessary.