“… The “one giving the great laugh” is the ultimate learner …” ~ Henry Shukman
“… The pure ground without an inch of grass for ten thousand miles still deludes people, and the clear sky without a speck of cloud still deceives you.” ( from master Bansho’s verse to the koan).
Case 46: Great Master Tokusan Emmyo instructed his assembly and said, “If you have exhausted to the end, you will realize right away that all buddhas in the three worlds have stuck their mouths to the wall. Yet there is still one person giving a great laugh. If you can recognize that person, you have accomplished your Zen study.”
Description: According to Tokusan, if we go “all the way” in our practice and accomplish our study, all buddhas are silenced. There is then nothing at all to be said. The pertinent question is: Is it true that we can do this, that we can reach the end? Henry talks about skepticism and mistrust regarding tradition and training, and the promise of liberation offered by Zen practice. If your practice carries you to the end, mistrust is annihilated. Henry warns against getting attached to realizations and beautiful experiences. If we get stuck in our meditative experience, we miss the real point of the practice. The “one giving the great laugh” is the ultimate learner. Every single phenomenon is the teacher.