Hanging by Your Teeth (GG5)

KOAN:

The teacher said, “It’s as though you were up in a tree, hanging from a branch with your teeth. Your hands and feet can’t touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the trees and asks,

‘What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?’

If you do not answer, you evade your responsibility. If you do answer, you lose your life. What do you do?”

—Gateless Gate Case 5

Text August 23, 2020

Predicament Koans – John Tarrant 2013

John Tarrant

So, rather than thinking a predicament is something we’ve got to get rid of, it’s just life—and it has its own dynamism. Maybe we have to walk through it, not run the other way. It’s all right to weep about it, or be frustrated and angry. You can’t be someone else, you are who you are. The gateway is yours, not someone else’s. From recording at Summer Sesshin, July 11 2013, Santa Sabina.

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