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“Avoid seeking elsewhere, for that is far from yourself. Now I travel alone, everywhere I meet it. Now it is me, now I am not it. It must be thus understood to merge with thusness.” ~ Tozan
“… There is no other other essential reality, there is “just this,” beyond any description …” ~ Henry Shukman
Description: Case 49: When Tôzan held a memorial service for Ungan before his portrait, he mentioned the episode with the portrait. A monk came forward and asked, “When Ungan said, ‘Just this!’ what did that mean?” Tôzan said, “At that time, I almost misunderstood my master’s meaning.” The monk said, “I wonder whether or not Ungan really knew that IT is.” Tôzan said, “If he did not know that it is, how could he speak like that? If he knew that it is, how did he dare speak like that?”
In this fourth teisho of Rohatsu, Henry relates some lively background stories about Tozan, Unmon and Case 49, Tozan and the Memorial service. This case refers to earlier events described in the talk. Henry explores the question, “What is the IT in the koan referring to?” IT appears; yet it never appears at all. This paradox accounts for why it is that Unmon and Tozan both can and cannot speak about IT. There is no other other essential reality, there is “just this,” beyond any description.
To close, Henry shares a few practice points. He talks about avoiding self-condemnation when distractions arise, and discusses the five hindrances and encourages us to work with them, through cultivating concentration, clarity and equanimity.