PZI Teacher Archives
The hermit of Lotus Peak held up their staff, saying to the group gathered around,
“When the ancestors reached here, why didn’t they decide to stay here?”
Everyone was silent, so the hermit answered herself,
“Because it has no power for the Path.”
Then she asked, “In the end, how is it?”
She answered her own question again, “I put my staff across my shoulders and set off
without a backward glance, going straight into the endless mountains.”
—Blue Cliff Record Case 25 (transl. by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland)
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.
To meet a Tea Lady was always a somewhat risky proposition. Usually, in koan-ville, an unsuspecting traveler hurrying on their way somewhere else—consumed with their own knowledge and problems— would encounter a tiny wayside establishment with a deeply mysterious proprietor on hand.
Jesse Cardin gets a phone call about a warrant for his arrest and enters the realms of clarity and confusion. Who can wait quietly till the mud settles? It’s not our business if we’re clear or confused. Whatever arrives carries us through. Stories and koans from the Odyssey, Daodejing, Yunmen, and a hermit who enters the jumbled mountains without a backward glance. As recorded April 24th, 2022.