Dongshan's Five Ranks (1st)

KOAN:

Poem 1

It’s past midnight
The moon has not yet risen.
In the deep dark we see a face from long ago
But you don’t recognize her.
Don’t think that’s strange.

– from the Record of Dongshan, The Five Ranks (1st Rank)

Text September 17, 2019

Dongshan’s Five Ranks: Poem 1

John Tarrant

This is from an old Chinese poet, and koans and poems were always, poems, koans, koans, poems, they’re always somewhat intertwined in their history. And so often poems were used as koans and vice versa. This is a series of five poems by an old Chinese teacher called Dongshan, who kind of did a map of the Way in five stages, because everybody knows there are five stages for the Way [laughter].

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