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Awakening the Heart Retreat, Talk Three: Person of No Rank, Henry Shukman

Koan: There is a true person of no rank who is constantly coming and going from the portals of your face. Who is that true person of no rank? Rinzai grabs the monk who asks that questions and answers, person of no rank, what a shit stick you are.

Henry explores this koan from the Book of Equanimity by first reflecting on the book Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson and on our responsibility as practitioners to gain knowledge about the injustices of our culture. He turns to the “person of no rank” who is going in and out of the gates of the face. The gates are the sense organs – eyes, ears, nose – and the seeing, hearing and smelling – a whiff, that’s the true person of no rank. Awareness is in and of the seeing, hearing, smelling.

Henry then turns to the four noble truths; suffering exists, there are causes of suffering, and a possibility for the end to suffering available through a path of practice. He says asks us to trust that our awakened nature is already here; but we need to sit, to trust the sitting and perhaps pick a koan as fertilizer.

Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

 

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