Sun, 01 Oct 2006
Brad has a new post on his blog, From Birth to Death It's Just Like This. It's his comment on a koan. I'd like to say something about it too, from a different perspective entirely. Here's the case, without Brad's comments.
There's a guy who's real smart. Buddhist guy. Knows every sutra. He takes up with a new teacher and the teacher asks him, "So what sutra do you lecture about?
The smart guy goes, "The Heart Sutra."
Master goes, "How do you lecture on the heart sutra?"
Smart guy says, "With my mind."
Master goes, "The mind is the leading actor, will is a supporting player and the six senses are the followers. How can mind lecture on the sutra?"
Smart guy goes, "If it's impossible for the mind to lecture about the sutra, maybe you think even empty space can lecture about it!"
Master goes, "Even empty space can lecture on it."
Smart guy gets disgusted and, thinking he's beaten the Master, walks off swinging his sleeves in what was then a very arrogant gesture.
As the smart guy walks off the master calls after him, "Hey, lecturer!"
Smart guy turns around.
Master goes, "From birth to death it's just like this!"
All at once the smart guy gets it. And he is never heard from again
If you look at the structure of this exchange, you'll notice the Master is doing three things. First, he's getting the smart guy angry. Second, he's startling him and interrupting his chain of angry thoughts. Third, he pops him: "Hey! Look at this!" The point is, without the setup, the punch line to the joke won't work.
Usually our minds are very jumbled, but any strong emotion will concentrate it. Joy or anger, delight or disgust, it doesn't much matter. If we look directly at the mind without concepts at such moments, we'll see the mind as it is. The startle is to knock thoughts out of the mind. Then the master says, "Look!" So that's how the trick is played. Hope I'm not giving away any Zen secrets.
I had a similar trick played on me at a seminar that Traleg Rinpoche taught on mahamudra. Only in my case, it didn't work. (Honest! No false modesty here!) During the question and answer period I asked him what was the difference between realizing the nature of mind and realizing the coemergence of mind. First, he ridiculed my question and got everybody in the room to laugh at it, embarrassing me. And he didn't answer it, so I had to ask, "But what about my question?" Then he was silent for a long time and said something like, "Realizing the nature of mind is like it's something special. Seeing its coemergence is like it's ordinary."
As I said, Traleg Rinpoche's attempt to enlighten me totally passed me by. But as it happened someone else in the audience got the point. They told me so later. So it's like Traleg Rinpoche shot at me and hit someone else.
So those are two examples of how the game is played. And if you rean more Zen stories, I think you'll notice the pattern.