Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Practising the impossible

"Where? Where can I enter the way?
How? How can I study?"

Kyosei asked a question in turn: “ What is the noise outside?”

“That’s the voice of the raindrops, that’s the rain” the student said.

“Enter from there” Kyosei replied.

A gate. But that gate, unlike any other, doesn’t lead anywhere. Gateless gate.Kyosei doesn’t actually point at the objective thing called “rain” ( how could rain be perceived as something happening" over there", anyway?) I believe that this good old fox is pointing at the activity of the self. Listen to the word "enter".The activity cannot meet its end, you cannot enter through the gate of rain. The curtain made of rain drops won't let you through. You are too big anyway. Therefore, you simply, utterly endlessly “enter”. Pure direction without destination or goal.

In other words, letting this "entering" doing itself in sitting, we allow our sitting-zen to be nothing but nothing but nothing. A living gate opening on itself, again and again. A dynamic space free of the rigidity and fixation of hope and fear, free of the worry of achieving, grasping, fixing, loosing. A space free of any view. I know: it sounds a bit philosophical, heavy almost pompous. When kyosei whispers "enter from there" he manifests the direction of great simplicity, he urges you-me-everybody to practice the impossible and be met by the ineffable.

What is it? Keep entering and if you can help it, never get anywhere.


Blogger Michael Tait said...

Today someone said ‘What gives?’ to me. She meant ‘What is happening?’

But ‘What gives?’ could also mean ‘What is no longer held fast?’ or ‘What is giving something of itself away?’

Language is of such central importance in our lives that if we examine it we often find shadows and traces of our original great wisdom in throwaway, everyday colloquialisms like this. It shines through the cracks in its pre-lingual and pre-conceptual brightness. Many thinkers would equate pre-lingual with pre-conceptual – I can’t even imagine how they would know this but perhaps it makes sense.

It is very interesting to notice that in this case ‘What gives?’ or ‘What is happening?’ is in fact the same question as ‘What is no longer held fast?’ and ‘What is giving something of itself away?’

Thankyou Pierre for not holding fast and for giving away this clear direction. This is what is happening.

10:29 AM  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

If their is rain outside you just hear the rain. If their is traffic outside you just hear the traffic. You do not think "it's raining" or "there is traffic". You just hear it. You don't resit it. You don't deny it, you just hear it.

One sensation among many. It is experienced it is not labelled, denyed or interpeted.

This is the gateless gate.

When everything is experienced and nothing is labelled then you have past through the gateless gate.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Traffic just hearing outside.
Rain is not resisting you
Hearing, labelling, denying, interpreting and experiencing.
Many sensations in one.
Gateless! THIS is the gate.

What is zazen expressing? As Zero puts it 'What did Gautama Buddha discover?'

9:28 AM  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

FW: Gassho.
Your words are more accurate than mine.

What is zazen expressing?"
It is existence. It is Uji.

9:58 AM  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

FW: Gassho.
Your words are more accurate than mine.

What is zazen expressing?"
It is existence untained by discrimination. It is Uji.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Existence untainted by discrimination is one face of the real. In reality untainted by discrimination what is experienced?

Uji is a name given to a description of a view of time - nothing like the reality expressed in zazen. Referring as it does to the intellectual conception of the immanence of experience, it does not describe that experience.

Rev.Master Jiyu Kennett used to call it 'the unborn.' To what was she referring? This is the same question as 'What did Gautama Buddha discover?' You are right, it is a question we must answer for ourselves.

Without guidance from one already residing there however, we will flail around during countless lives and never find the sanctuary we seek.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear all,

Thank you for "allowing" on this spot.

Yes, finding our teacher, we can then can then let situations, events, life itself become IT. Otherwise, it is just a dream, another delusion.

Floating weed, words fail to express my gratitude and joy. Thank you for your teaching. It comes straight from a very close and known-unknown place to my stupid heart.

12:20 PM  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

"Without guidance from one already residing there however, we will flail around during countless lives and never find the sanctuary we seek. "

I am not seeking sactuary. I am not [consciously] seeking anything. Who taught Hui Neng?

I live in ambiguity. In reality there is no certainty of anything.

Uji is a description of existence and time entwined. It is reality and I entwined. Not separate. Not two. Not one.

Philisophy is not IT. Imaginary flowers painted by the mind is not IT. Real flowers often have their roots covered in shit.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

If you imagine time to be a continuum, learning to be a process and others to be seperate from you then you can also imagine Hui Neng learning something from the void or learning something from another person or some such nonsense.

Comprehending 'one bright pearl' in practise - who could learn or teach anything? Who can learn from or teach anything to another person? Transmission is not like this.

Yes, Uji is a 'description' - you cannot point to reality with a description, especially somebody else's description.

When you can say something of your own from the place beyond opposites then you will effortlessly receive and no longer require the affirmation which you seek.

4:05 AM  
Blogger MikeDoe said...


"When you can say something of your own from the place beyond opposites then you will effortlessly receive and no longer require the affirmation which you seek."

This would be a strange way and a strange place to do it if I was seeking affirmation.

Mike has request that I remain silent. I will do so.



7:39 AM  
Blogger zero said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Michael Tait said...

Dear Zero,

What a shame you have deleted your comment Zero. I would like to respond anyway if I may (if you'd like I will delete this response also.)

Thankyou for this opportunity. 'The place beyond opposites' eughh! I can't remember which of my other pronouncements you singled out but eughh to that too. How could you not be right that these statements fail to express what Gautama uncovered (he didn't discover it)? If you want four words that express the truth, perhaps 'It is not that' will suffice.

Aah but it won't suffice will it? So, 'fail again, fail better.' What can we say today?

Today I have been examining seahorses in an aquarium (not alas in the ocean.) How strange! How passing strange! Most inappropriate-seeming of creatures, a miniature horse that lives in the ocean, snout and stomach, tail and tiny dragon's wings. Yet, most perfectly in their element. I watched tiny herds of water horses grazing the reefs entirely, wonderfully at home in the universe. Tiny herds watching me in the universe, grazing water horses, entirely at home, wonderfully reefs. Can this explain the instant of apprehension of me by seahorses, by reefs?

What does it mean for the least appropriate of the animal kingdom to be at home in the universe, to be 'in our element?' Well, we are already in our element but at odds with it also. Living in a pale, insubstantial land, we catch glimpses of our lives as a unity like this aquatic meeting, this grazing of seahorses. Like this tap, tap, bright, wysteria fenceness. I am a foolish thing like this, no thing more grand I'm afraid.

You write of gateless gates and transmission. No doubt you mean the transmission of horse hair whisks, flower garland seats and certificates inscribed in kanji. The transmission to which I refer in the piece to JD is the transmission of seahorses, something quite different. This certificate is written in brine, in air and eyes.

My impression of the gateless gate is that writing of it in this way betrays one's lack of understanding of what is referred to. The gateless gate is not a gate, it cannot be passed through. It's also a most unhelpful term to toy with. Perhaps a shadow for me of torment can be perceived in this instant that might suggest something of this nature but, why would anyone dwell on that particular dream?

If you wish to know whether I am qualified to do as I do all I can say is this: I sewed a robe for the Buddha's way in which I sit on a cushion every morning and every evening.

At the end of another little blogging cycle and feeling my paws dirtied by too much grasping, I'm going to take another sabbatical from the land of blog.

I shall continue occassionally to enjoy the wonderful posts and no doubt rejoin the fray at some later date. Wishing all the buddha bloggers well.

(Thankyou Pierre for allowing this hijacking of your blog.)


8:08 AM  
Blogger zero said...


don't contradict me by such an eloquent response!

More seriously, let me humbly bow to you in deepest respect, dear Dharma friend.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Fw, Zero,

Thank you.

12:14 PM  

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