“What Guishan was imparting does not enter through the gate.” The gate is eye, ear, nose, tongue, body or mind. These teachings do not enter through the senses. The minute you grasp it with the mind, the minute you understand it, it’s no longer the truth that Guishan is imparting. If it doesn’t come through the gate of the senses, how does it come? How does it arrive? How will you know that it’s there? If it’s really the great matter of the buddhas and ancestors, you won’t necessarily know. It doesn’t come from the outside. That was clearly established by Shakyamuni Buddha in the expression of his own enlightenment: “All sentient beings, the great earth, and I have at once entered the Way.” Some guru didn’t tell him that. He realized it. His statement was a verification of the inherent perfection of all beings. What he was looking for he realized he already had. And so it is with you and me. When you seek, you move away from the truth. Remember Zhaozhou and Nanquan. “What is the way?” Nanquan said, “Ordinary mind is the Way.” Zhaozhou said, “Should I direct myself toward it or not?” Nanquan said, “If you direct yourself toward it, you’ll move away from it.” If you’re directing yourself toward something, it means that it’s some place other than where you are. That’s the basis of delusion.
The commentary continues, “What Guishan is imparting does not enter through the gate. It is a truth that does not reside in words, sounds, gestures or silence. It does not spring from the realm of intent. In intent the mind moves and there is communication. In the teaching of the essential matter no communication whatsoever takes place.” A few years ago, several students stayed for a month at Seido Suzuki Roshi’s temple in Japan. Seido Roshi was instrumental in the early years of this Monastery. I tried to prepare my students to see that they weren’t going to get what they got here. First of all, he wasn’t fluent in English, and secondly, he was trained in the Soto school only, and therefore did not work with koans. One of the qualities of Seido Roshi is his subtle manifestation of the truth in everyday activities—the way he runs the temple, the way he works, the way he interacts with people, his humility and openness. In fact, most of his teaching is body teaching. Here, too, if we add up the hours of mondo, discourses, dokusan and compare it to the total time spent in training, how much of our training is actually conveyed in words? Where’s the rest of it happening? Unless we’re truly alert, awake, alive, we may miss it completely because it doesn’t come through the senses.
“What Guishan is imparting does not enter through the gate of the senses. It does not spring from the realm of intent.” When we are spontaneous, there’s no intention. In intent, the mind moves and there’s communication and the whole matter becomes intellectual. In the teachings of the essential matter, no communication takes place, nothing goes from A to B. We have this illusion that a teacher has something to give. That’s not true. All that’s happening is that the teacher is creating a spark, so that we ourselves realize what’s already there, what we’ve been born with, what we’ll die with. It just becomes conscious.