PZI Teacher Archives
It’s past midnight
The moon has not yet risen.
In the deep thick dark you see but don’t recognize
a familiar face from long ago
No need to be surprised by that.
—from the Record of Dongshan, The Five Ranks (1st Rank)
What you can conceive of might take away your life. On the other hand, what you cannot conceive of will give you your life.
These dharma talks and texts, like Dongshan’s First Rank, wander in the hours before moonrise when anything can appear. Being lost, or in the dark, is a necessary condition on the Way.
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].