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November 19, 2013


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I choose not to add this sort of content to the vessel of mind, because I recognize that the content is the vessel, and I do not wish to carry it around with me.

Here are to good sources:

http://goo.gl/tzl8pn (
Yuan-wu K'o-ch'in's (1063-1135) Teaching of Ch'an Kung-an)

Ch'an and Zen Teaching, Volume 1
Ch'an and Zen Teaching. Series Two

Hahaha. I love Munch. Anywho, who said that one should ask questions continually? How is that supposed to equal to working on a koan? The koan is there to make you feel as if your mother and father died. One has to succumb to the agony and misery of facing such a great doubt. The horrible frustration of not knowing has to feel like death is at hand. Only in giving in to it will one be able to reach beyond conception. And that is the whole point. Forget all else. Don't get hung up on all these things that you yourself keep referancing to as "worldly" and "empty" - forget your notions in regards to life, the path, the seeking, the whatever. Only befriend the horror of the great terrible doubt. Something will unfold on its own. All of a sudden something will happen. And there are no words for it. You can call it a leap of faith, but I call it a leap of death. I myself felt like dying from the heartbreak caused by not understanding and not knowing. I then left it at that, and sort of accepted the pain, tried to make peace with it, but before I could even finish that thought, a sudden jump was at hand, and every trace of the mysery and death-like agony that I felt mere miliseconds ago, was gone. All of a sudden, the big lump of doubt that broke my heart, was gone. It turned from an overly intense negative, to a surging ball of positive. For a moment it was like every grain of sand in the Ganges danced on top of my head and filled my chest. Bodhisattvas laughed and danced, but Buddhas remained silent. And then life went on.

Whatever your reasons for 'bashing' the koan, please reconsider. I kind of understand your side of the matter, but you seem to call out against koans whenever Zenmar posts about them. What is the reason for that? If you have these feelings regarding the koan, why not leave it at that? You are making it worse for yourself by voicing those notions each time, and you are probably stepping on a few toes amongst the readers. Though, I'm sure Zenmar just chuckles, or perhaps shakes his head? Haha.

With all that said, there are a number of things in this life that can do the work of a koan just as easily. Indeed, our lives are all koans, as they do not make sense, but they are evident in their function none the less, at all times. Never remaining hidden, always with us, always staring at us, always just us, always just it, always just that, always just there, but we still obsess with looking. But at one point we embrace the pain caused by the looking, and then there it is. And then it's gone again.

But by all means, you are of course welcome to disregard me. I am not a man of immense discipline when it comes to practice or whatever you call it, and when it comes to succeeding in the world, I didn't even attend college. I come from the worse icchantika household you can imagine, and we all carry great burdens and suffer terrible karma. But I am intimate with the frightening and the terrible. And that is all I need. That gives me the greatest zeal. Having lived with horror and having been born to it, I have come to obtain the courage to embrace it. And that is what this whole thing is about. Not excluding a single dharma.

Zennist, I'm keen to find out where you got your information here about the styles of koan practice in China and Japan. Just curious...I have a hunch I'd be real interested to read that book or books.

Hopefully _this_ comment will not offend anyone's sensibilities, and that they will not be so shocked, SHOCKED by my words that they revert to a psychophysical state akin to Edmund Munch's "The Scream".

Why use a koan?

This artificial, conditioned concentration device aims at putting pressure on the meditator by posing words that no ordinary mental process can adequately evaluate and resolve.

Thus, the pent up reservoir of inquiry finally breaks through at some point -- even years later -- in what is termed "insight wisdom" (dead words) to resolve the basic existential issue. At that point, we see the koan as pointing the way and not the way itself.

So far, so good, yes?

Therefore why use an artificial device when existence itself, the very consciousness itself, is so mysterious and ineffible that no amount of intellectual inquiry can adequately resolve it?

Thus, instead of asking questions continually, addressing those objects of our gurus and their ingenious devices of dependency, but inwardly always asking of ourselves the fundamental questions of life, so, ultimately, in questioning, there is no division between the path and the destination, no answer to be sought but the recognition that the question itself is the answer?

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