Assistant Sanbo Zen Teacher Shana Smith examines “Zuigan’s Eyebrows,” Case 8 in the Blue Cliff Record, and sheds abundant light and color on what it might feel like to be “eyebrow to eyebrow” with the Zen ancestors, with one another, with our whole lives. In this effort, she stints neither on rich storytelling nor on the unimprovable intimacy of the shout. (“Teisho,” Dharma talk: literally “presentation of the shout”).
One of many vivid illustrations comes from ecofeminist Val Plumwood. Plumwood escaped a crocodile’s death roll – but first, in terror and intimacy with the croc’s gold-flecked eyes, came a moment reminiscent of Dogen’s “forgetting the self / being actualized by myriad things.” With no room for a hair’s-breadth space between, each life-and-death impression poured in with no opposite, “eyebrow to eyebrow.”