PZI Teacher Archives
Not deciding it is or it isn’t
Do you have the courage to be at peace with it?
Everyone wants to leave the endless changes
But when we finish bending and fitting our lives
We come and sit by the fire.
—from the Record of Dongshan, The Five Ranks (5th Rank)
Even a delicious rest must end. The Dao suffers no plans but its own, and our bodhisattva path requires that we bring it back into the world. In Zen, the path goes on and on—we find more ways to grow the ways we love our lives. We are not trying to reach a place of endless tranquillity.
So we’ve been talking about old poems that are also a map of the path, but they’re a map of the kind where you have to see what rises in your meditation to meet them to find out how useful they are to you. Today we’re on the fifth of the ranks, the fifth poem. Five ranks by an old Zen teacher, and this is the final one, so you now know conclusively that there are only five stages to the path. And it goes: