Bodhidharma Comes and Goes (MK43)

KOAN:

a. Bodhidharma was last seen heading back to India, wearing one sandal. Why did he return to India?
b. Someone comes to you in a dream and asks you why Bodhidharma came from the West. If you don’t answer, you fail your responsibility. What will you say?
c. Bodhidharma’s relics are in front of the gate. Go get them and bring them here.

– PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 43

Text May 8, 2020

The Method of Zen

John Tarrant

In the evening dharma talk John introduces us to an ancestor in the koan tradition, Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, Daie Soko), 1089-1163 and his disciple Wuzhuo Miaozong (無著妙宗; 1096–1170 CE), Miaozong lived during the Song dynasty and was one of the first nuns to be included in an imperially sanctioned Zen lineage history. The conversation between Dahui and Miaozong is instructive of his early method of using only the head of the koan and become one with it. His method was formulated for his culture like we are for ours.

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