Photo by Gaston Heinrich


The next line says, “Keep in mind that even if this monastic had said, ‘I understand,’ Xuansha would still have had to say, ‘Go away. No one will believe you.’” He would have left him dangling, with just his own resources—just as I am about to do with you! I am going to leave you dangling. You are going to have to turn to your own resources to figure this out. “Why is this so?” the next line says. Once you are on the hook the rest is up to you. No one has anything to give you—that’s the truth of the dharma. I don’t have it. The Buddha doesn’t have it. No teacher does. If they imply that they do, run for your life, because you’re in for deception.

You have to trust yourself. All the teacher can do is point. All the teacher can do is engage in skillful means, probe and push and cajole, but not give you any answers. That wouldn’t liberate you. It would just put another nose ring on you. Another cage—the Buddhist cage. You have the phenomenal world cage, and you replace it with the Buddhist cage. That’s not freedom.

The capping verse: A jewel, shining brightthere are absolutely no flaws. This is the universe, your life, my life—perfect, complete and lacking nothing. Sacred and mundane, just as they are, intermingle freely. Two apparent opposites, sacred on one side, mundane on the other side. No different than form or emptiness. No different than self and other. Male and female, good and bad, monastery and world, all of the dualities. They intermingle freely, have a mutual identity.
Dogen says in Genjokoan, “Those who regard the mundane as a hindrance to life and practice only understand that in the mundane nothing is sacred; what they have not yet understood is that in sacredness nothing is mundane.” Please, discover that sacredness

True Dharma Eye: Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koans, is a complete, modern English translation of Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koan or Chinese Shobogenzo. This important collection of koans, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori, is accompanied by John Daido Loori’s commentary, capping verse and footnotes (Shambhala Publications, 2005).

John Daido Loori, Roshi is the abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. A successor to Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, Daido Roshi trained in rigorous koan Zen and in the subtle teachings of Master Dogen, and is a lineage holder in the Soto and Rinzai schools of Zen.