Someone asked Dongshan, “When the cold visits us, how can we avoid it?”
Dongshan said, “Why not go where there is no cold?”
“Where is the place without cold?”
Dongshan said, “When it is cold, the cold kills you. When it is hot, the heat kills you.”
-Blue Cliff Record, Case 43
Zenosaurus Curriculum 2: We usually understand things by taking them up to the top floor of the mind and finding a slot they fit into. Koans are meant to open a different way of being and thinking. Instead of preparing you to understand your life, a koan prepares you to walk through your life.
So, there’s a spaciousness inside all situations, is what I’m saying. We’re walking through them, and underneath our feet there’s space and light around us—and we’re walking through space and light. And knowing that then is the source, I think, of empathy and love—but we accompany each other. And we don’t have to take ourselves or each other so seriously. We don’t have to advocate for the direness of the human condition, which is something we find a lot of. [laughs]