PZI Teacher Archives
Ikkyu's Well (MK22)
In a well that was never dug
water ripples from a spring that doesn’t flow.
Someone with no shadow or form
is drawing the water.
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 22 (from a poem by Ikkyu)
Ikkyu’s Well & The Miscellaneous Koans
Images of water are deep in the meditation tradition. There is the notion that water nourishes us and holds us, and that the Dao flows like water and always finds the Way. Whatever blocks the river, the Dao dissolves it or will move around it. That’s the quality of meditation.
The Story of the Well Painting
I want to describe the process that I went through, over the last year of making the painting, and I want to do that in the spirit of “when something arises, don’t believe it, and shine your light on it.” So in a year a lot of things can arise not to believe, and they did. But even if you’re in the meditation hall, five minutes is probably long enough for plenty to arrive not to believe in.