“…any notion of recognition or good reputation becomes unnecessary …”
Description: The center of this talk is the koan, “‘Getting Despised’ in the Diamond Sutra,” from the Book of Equanimity. It also appears in the Blue Cliff Record. This koan is an excerpt from the Diamond Sutra, the Mahayana sutra which expresses, most closely, the spirit of Zen. Henry begins by pointing out that this koan is particularly relevant for Westerners because of our levels of shame and tendency toward self-blame and self-rating. The Zen saying, “Don’t ride a horse on a horse,” refers to a separate “self,” an invention added to experience. We tend to create a horse on top of horse on top of horse, i.e, not only do we create a “self” but a further self that judges the other. It is not uncommon to seek recognition or good reputation. This koan is saying, “No, No, be despised!” Why is this good? It challenges the view that we want to be recognized and admired. If we are clear about the deeper fact expressed in the koan, then any notion of recognition or good reputation becomes unnecessary.