Some Treasures of the Lost Cities

Description

A quest, a treasure hunt, through cities overtaken by sands and ghosts and overwhelmed by the sea. We search for hidden teachings in scrolls, clay tablets, or dreams. Being lost is primary. In the koan lands we side with being lost when we turn toward uncertainty and wait, and whether we can bear it or not, a path opens. There is no end to this opening. 

Summary

Treasures, passageways, secret doors that you cannot find unless you are lost…

You come and go by daylight, you make people out by daylight. But suddenly it’s midnight and there’s no sun, no moon, no light. If it’s a place you’ve been to, then of course it might be possible, but if it’s a place you’ve never been, how will you get hold of something?

—Yunmen

Our account of being lost is itself one of the first treasures.

“One day in the middle of life I found myself in a dark wood,” says Dante. The sea god sank Odysseus’s ship and he alone survived, clinging to a plank in the vast ocean. “For forty years I sought a master swordsman,” said Lingyun, a pilgrim looking for the way.

It is in the nature of being alive to have a predicament, and the first predicament is being lost. Being lost is also a quest, a treasure hunt, through cities overtaken by sands and ghosts and overwhelmed by the sea. We search for hidden teachings in scrolls, clay tablets, or dreams.

The teachings are the true wealth of the ancient civilizations who between wars and divinations and flight had untold centuries to consider such matters. We also go into ancient cities to meet the ancient teachers, still alive in the between places, and to ask and receive help from them.

Being lost is primary. In the koan lands we side with being lost when we turn toward uncertainty and wait, and whether we can bear it or not, a path opens. There is no end to this opening.

What are the treasures of the ancient civilizations? These are the cities of the heart and mind as well as those drowned by seas and sands.

A student searches for the bones of his old master in the floor of the zendo.

War or not, nevertheless the flowers appear.

The two main points of the great way are:

—Here, here, here! & How can I make myself a raft to ferry others?

John Tarrant tells a shaggy dog koan story.

Jordan McConnell plays music. Music is one of those great treasures.

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