Teisho: Obaku’s Drinkers Revisited

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I don’t say there is no Zen, just no Zen Teachers. ~ Obaku

zenb ut no zen teachers

   

If you think you are going to get something through effort,
you won’t get anywhere or anything, you are still in the midst of craving.
    ~ Henry Shukman

Description: Henry introduces the verses that are attached to each Koan in the Book of Equanimity. He explicates the charming, powerful verse from Case 53, Obaku’s Drinkers (which Henry spoke about in several earlier podcasts) as an example of how a verse relates to the koan.

The way is divided, the threads are dyed, too much labor!
Binding the leaves, tying the flowers, it mars the ancestors
One skillfully takes the active handle of creation
Vessels designed with waters and clouds are on the lathe… (from Case 53)

Henry begins with Obaku’s enigmatic statement concluding the Case 53:

I don’t say there is no Zen, just no Zen Teachers.

Why are there no Zen teachers? asks Henry. Our task is to find the difficult paradox at the statement’s core. To find this paradox, Henry focuses on craving, the deep gnawing rumble within the psyche to get, to gain, to achieve. It is normal to bring this “getting” mindset to practice, but this is not what practice is about.

Post & Featured Image (edited): Zen Stones Lake by Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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