Posted inBook of Serenity, Dharma, Dogen, Koans, Koans/Poems, Videos

Hands and Eyes: Summer Sesshin Talk 5

July 30, 2022

This world of dew
is a world of dew
and yet, and yet.

~ Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)

Valerie takes a deep dive into compassion. She first relays the myth of Kannon and how she became the Bodhisattva of compassion with 1000 arms and hands (each with an eye) and 9 heads. But, what does she use so many hands and eyes for? To understand Kannon Bodhisattva, Valerie guides us through Case 54 from the Book of Equanimity, Ungon’s Great Mercy (the koan text is printed below the video).

Case 54: Ungan asked Dôgo, “What does the Bodhisattva of the Great Mercy use so many hands and eyes for?” Dôgo answered, “It is like a person in the middle of the night reaching with his hand behind his head groping for his pillow.” Ungan said, “I understood.” Dôgo said, “How did you understand it?” Ungan said, “The whole body is hands and eyes.” Dôgo said, “You said it very well. But you expressed only eight-tenths of it.” Ungan said, “How would you say it, Elder Brother?” Dôgo said, “The entire body is hands and eyes.”

Image by Foto-RaBe from Pixabay

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