Huseng wrote:I have no authority to make a final judgement call on who is and isn't a Zen practitioner, but my personal opinion right now is that if you're going to "do Zen", so to speak, a teacher is a prerequisite for practice. If someone should feel otherwise, I welcome them to put forth some points as to why they say so.
White Lotus wrote:Huseng, to begin with, koan studies can seem totally inacessible, and even intimidating. You may find that there is not even a single koan in the Blue Cliff Record that you are able to interpret. dont worry about the way others interpret, find your own interpretation.
sit with a koan and work at it. its a little like unravelling a serious knot in a ball of string. sooner or later! crack, you can eat the nut. many of the koans are metaphorical, and so you will need to ask yourself what important element of buddhism is this koan getting at. sometimes a koan may be completely mundane, something from daily life and at other times a sticky metaphore.
take for example the following koan:
the bull escapes from his pen, charging towards the cliff... woops! his tail is caught in the gate. how can he get free.
this koan from the mumon kan may in my own approach be interpreted like this...
the bull (your true nature) is getting free of delusions about himself and the world. he charges towards Zen death. the death that brings life. the chasm of zen where he will entirely die to the delusion of self etc, but his ego (tail), only a little thing gets caught in the gate.
everyone has their own interpretation, this is the beauty and mystery of koans. when reading a koan you could ask yourself things like... does this koan point towards emptiness, or suchness or is it an example of pure love, etc etc. cracking koans can be fun, but be patient with yourself.
best wishes, White Lotus. x
koan toffee, simply the most delectable
chew you can get!
But really, if it was only about metaphors and symbols, where would "direct pointing at the Mind" be?
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