Teisho: Case 57, Book of Equanimity: Gon’yô’s One Thing

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“… when you experience sight and sound with your whole body and mind, you are swallowed whole, so to speak. We are swallowed by the moment.”

body mind moment

Description: The focus of this talk is Case 57 of The Book of Equanimity, “Gon’yô’s One ‘Thing.’” Henry begins by discussing the story of Jôshû’s life and cites James Austin’s article, “Old Jôshû Lives On,” which considers the aging process and recent research into the positive effect of meditation on protective telomeres in the brain. This koan is a gateway to allowing us to taste the wonderful world of Jôshû. Each koan may open up infinite dimensions yet they invite us not to enter “other” worlds, but rather this one, nothing but right here, right now. Dogen expressed this by saying that when you experience sight and sound with your whole body and mind, you are swallowed whole, so to speak. We are swallowed by the moment. In this koan, Gon’yô presents his own understanding to Jôshû, saying, “I don’t have a single thing,” to which Joshu responds, “Throw it away.” On the face of it, it seems to be a koan about not clinging to any notion of realization. But there is another point to consider: in Jôshû’s world, is there a difference between throwing it away and keeping it? The talk closes with the proposition that whatever it is, perhaps we can neither throw it away nor hold onto it.

Post & Featured Image (edited): Sunbeam by 2780243, CCO Public Domain.

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