Lingyun was wandering in the mountains and became lost in his walking. He rounded a bend and saw peach blossoms on the other side of the valley. This sight awakened him and he wrote this poem:
For thirty years I searched for a master swordsman,
how many times did the leaves fall,
and the branches burst into bud?
But from the moment I saw the peach blossoms,
I’ve had no doubts.
—Transmission of Light, Case 12, Entangling Vines, Case 8
Later, Keizan, the Japanese teacher, wrote:
The village peach blossoms didn’t know
their own pink
but still they freed Lingyun
from all his doubts.
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 37
Distraction can have a long arc, and until the end of the story, you can’t say what’s a distraction and what’s a calling.
Day two of 2018 Winter Sesshin. John Tarrant introduces the great koan “No,” a gift from the ancestors. The gift is what happens when we hang out with the koan. “No” as the purest gate. When we step through, we find out we’re here! It’s not personal, you’re harmonizing with the universe. Transcript from a recording on January 17, 2018.
Curated links to Dharma talks, guided meditations, music, art, closing words, and more from Spring Sesshin 2021.