Teisho: Sesshin Day 3, Case 4 of The Blue Cliff Record

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“The alchemy of slow-cooking—that’s also zen…”

“When the mind is quiet, we notice so much more…the things we encounter are the teachings.”

noticing quiet mind lone tree nature

Description: This teisho is the third of the Spring 2017 sesshin. Henry begins by discussing how we all start to simmer down, as sesshin progresses. “When the mind is quiet, we notice so much more…the things we encounter are the teachings.” Snowflakes, bridge, flower, floor, dog. Henry picks up on the story of Tokusan and the theme of the two gates of zen training, practice and principle. Practice is wearing down the self. Principle is no self. He indicates that in a life of training these two gates show themselves. This leads into the next chapter in Tokusan’s life of training as he meets Isan in Case 4 of The Blue Cliff Record, “Tokusan with His Bundle.” Tokusan has had an awakening experience with Ryûtan and, now, with Isan, “he’s still in the scintillating fizz of this experience.” The talk points out that the content of awakening experiences is always the same but they vary in depth, primarily as to how much of us is implicated it — meaning eradicated by it. This is still very early in Tokusan’s life and practice, and there is much more to come.

Post & Featured Image (edited): Lone Tree Nature by thommas68, CCOPublic Domain.

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