Teisho: Case 59, Book of Equanimity: Seirin’s Deadly Snake

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“… The self is actually a root system of attachments, and the entire system can be suddenly uprooted …”

self, roots, attachment

Description: This teisho is the third talk from the Summer 2017 sesshin. The last talk covered the Buddha’s five hindrances. This talk begins with the remedy for the five hindrances—patience and determination. If we keep practicing, unconditional happiness can be a reality. This leads into Bodhidharma’s two “entries”—principle and practice. Entry by principle is marked by sudden realization. It is sudden because we see that it has always been here—just this. Entry by practice is more predictable and gradual. We follow the teachings offered and are on the path to unconditional happiness. Koans are always about “principle,” or our actual reality, no matter how it is reached, which is our real self. Koans are not moral guidance or practice guidance. Koans are about an “explosive and total release—the whole world gone.” In Case 59, Master Seirin says, “You will lose your life.” This is central to “entry by principle.” It is discovering that you and your life are not what you think they are. The sense of “me” is gone, as is its world. The self is actually a root system of attachments, and the entire system can be suddenly uprooted and it is clear that everything we experience is a deadly snake—it cannot be avoided. The true self does away with the question of being or not-being. Then, there is nothing left to lose.

Post & Featured Image (edited): Thailand by unserekleinemaus, CCO Public Domain.

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