Ordinary Mind Is the Way (GG19)

KOAN:

Zhaozhou asked Nanquan, “What is the Way (the Dao)?”
Nanquan said, “Ordinary mind is the Way.”
Zhaozhou asked, “Should I turn myself toward it or not?”
Nanquan said, “If you try to turn yourself toward it, you turn away from it.”
Zhaozhou asked, “How can I know the Way if I don’t turn toward it?”
Nanquan said, “The Way is not about knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is blank.
If you actually reach the Way, you’ll find it as vast and boundless as space. How can you talk about this is terms of right and wrong?”
With these words, Zhaozhou had a sudden realization.

The Verse

Spring comes with its flowers, autumn with the moon,
summer with breezes, winter with snow.
When useless things don’t hang in your mind,
that is your best season.

—Gateless Gate Case 19, with Verse

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Article September 16, 2021

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“I like finding features of popular culture that point the way out of the mind’s prison. It is as if a trail of breadcrumbs had been left where least expected.”

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Article September 13, 2021

Ordinary Life Is the Way

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It is natural to look for the things you want outside of where you are now. That is the whole point of a journey. Yet this moment is all anyone has. So if freedom, love, beauty, grace, and whatever else is desirable are to appear, they must appear in a now.

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