Teisho: Sesshin Day 4, Case 13 of The Gateless Gate

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“All we really have to do is get out of the way and the beautiful energy of the practice will just take over.”

“… we learn to let go and let it do the work …”

letting go

Description: This teisho is the fourth of the Spring 2017 sesshin. Henry begins by discussing how the practice of sesshin gets much better over time—”we learn to let go and let it do the work.” Having a difficult time can be a good thing; difficult feelings can be reframed as the fuel of practice. “An awkward point is merely a wonderful elbow nudge from a reality of incomparable beauty that wants us to know it.” The past two talks have introduced us to Master Tokusan. This talk continues on with his life—Tokusan is an old man now in Case 13 of Mumonkan (The Gateless Gate), “Tokusan Carries His Bowls,” (also Case 55 of Shôyôroku). The heart of this koan is that, without a word, Tokusan returns to his room. The whole koan is here in the not-speaking. Tokusan is behaving much differently than as a young man visiting Isan, when he called out, “Nothing! Nothing!” Henry discusses how, also in this koan, Ganto seizes this moment to try to help his beloved dharma-brother, Seppo. The talk closes by pointing out the gentleness of Tokusan, and the world in his silence, and the great contrast to how Tokusan taught for much of his earlier life..

Post & Featured Image (edited): Letting Go by alexisnyal, CC BY 2.0.

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