The Dharma is a spiral path of lostness. What will happen next? It’s dark. We’re here no matter what. When you think okay, I’m lost, what’s next? Trusting in the dark is the Way—it is not our business how we awaken.
Yunmen taught, “Everybody has a light inside.
When you’re looking for it, you can’t see; it’s dark, dark, hidden.
What is this light that everybody has?”
He himself answered, “The kitchen pantry, the entrance gate.”
—Blue Cliff Record Case 86
Getting ahold of something is not the point in Yunmen’s darkness koan. Start by being lost!
The Dharma is a spiral path of lostness. What will happen next? It’s dark. We’re here no matter what. When you think okay, I’m lost, what’s next?
What’s next is a predicament koan from Xiangyan, and you find yourself hanging from a branch by your teeth:
The teacher said, “It’s as though you were up in a tree, hanging from a branch with your teeth. Your hands and feet can’t touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the trees and asks, ‘What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?’
If you do not answer, you evade your responsibility. If you do answer, you lose your life. What do you do?”
—Gateless Gate Case 5
John tells the story of a teacher being carried in the dark. Xiangyan, a student of Baizhang and Guishan, worked with Huineng’s Original Face koan for years and was stuck in the dark until the one tock! of a pebble on bamboo awakened him.
Trusting in the dark is the Way—it is not our business how we awaken. No being has ever fallen out of their great true nature.
Evening dharma talk in Winter Sesshin, February 2, 2023. (3rd night)Read More▼