a. There is nothing I dislike
b. There is a true person of no rank who is constantly coming in and going through the gates of your face.
c. There is a solitary brightness without fixed shape or form. It knows how to listen to the teachings, it knows how to understand the teachings, it knows how to teach. That solitary brightness is you.
d. Wherever you are, just take the role of host, and that place will be a true place.
e. In your life right now, what is it you lack, what is it that practice must mend?
– PZI Miscellanous Koans, Case 38, (Discourses, The Record of Linji)
Practice. The notion of practice, as something you embody, and you walk through, and you are—rather than something you add, like something added to gasoline. There’s also a sense of moving in the dark, in some way that’s positive. So that in a practice, “not knowing” is on your side.
A discovery that all the Linji koans we are working with during the retreat are variants on: ‘There’s Nothing I Dislike’. They all appear from this core. The solitary brightness with no fixed shape or form is yours. If you ‘Only don’t object’, or exclude the reality, the brightness is there.
The construction of a “me: and the positive experience of losing it. The strategies of “me” allow the universe to come in and establish our true place in it. There is nothing to dislike. When the world comes to meet us we realize there is only this.
John Tarrant talks about the koan “There is nothing I dislike”, and recounts the story passed on from a schoolteacher, about her experience living with this koan at the edge of darkness and world-weary fatigue. If there’s ever only one zen video you watch, this should be it. Trigger warning: sexual assault. (2016)