Posted inDogen, MC Podcasts, Meditations

Teisho: Case 28, Book of Equanimity: Gokoku’s “Three Disgraces” Part 1 of 2

March 10, 2016

“This whole being called me is just a hole.”

Description: Case 28: Book of Equanimity: Gokoku’s “Three Disgraces” Part 1 of 2

A monk asked Gokoku, “How about when a crane perches on a withered pine tree?” Gokoku said, “It is a disgrace when seen from the ground.”
The monk asked, “What about when every drop of water is frozen at once?” Gokoku said, “It’s a disgrace after the sun has risen.”
The monk asked, “At the time of the Eshô Persecution1 , where did the good Guardian Deities2 of the Dharma go?” Gokoku said, “It is a disgrace for the two of them on both sides of the temple gate.” .”


In this teisho, Henry explores Gokoku’s Three Disgraces.  He overturns the meaning of disgrace; invokes the teachings of St Francis and Master Dogen, and quotes a poem by Robert Burns.  We learn about the Mahayana’s radical view that samsara and nirvana are one and the same. Henry discusses how focused, consistent meditation can lead to a direct realization that the core of what we take for self does not exist the way we think it does. What’s left is simply space which melts into infinite compassion. Listen to this inspiring talk, which confronts our conception of self in support of awakening.

Post and Featured Image Credit: Samsara + Nirvana, by Hartwig HKD, CC BY-ND 2.0.

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