Teisho: Shukman: Case 1, The Gateless Gate: Joshu’s Dog (Mu)

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“… Everything has its source in zazen …”

“… The more clearly we see what is going on, the more clearly we discover there is only what is going on …”

Description: This teisho is the first talk from the Summer 2017 sesshin. Before looking at the koan Mu, this talk begins, as context, with Bodhidharma’s two “entries”—principle and practice. This theme is echoed in Dogen’s words, “To study the way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self.” In other words, “entry by practice” can be taken to refer to studying the experience of the self — of the human body, mind and consciousness. But there is also “entry by principle” — which is akin to Dogen states as to “forget the self.” In the koan, “Jôshû’s Dog” (Mu), Case 1 of The Gateless Gate, a monk asks Jôshû if a dog has buddha nature and Jôshû answers, “Mu.” Mu literally means “not,” but can also be taken as, “Don’t go there.” “The more clearly we see what is going on, the more clearly we discover there is only what is going on.” In the practice of Mu we move from there being someone who does the practice, to there being no one doing it — just Mu, nothing but Mu.

Post & Featured Image (edited): Almond Blossom by georgschm, CCO Public Domain.

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