Posted inDharma, Henry's Messages

The Dharma

July 20, 2015

Once there is even a small hole, the Dharma can start to seep through.


At first it’s not evident to us. We can conceive of it intellectually—it’s the Buddha’s teaching, it’s the law of cause and effect, it’s all phenomena—but not truly experience it as a living fact. For that to happen, apparently we have to drop our bodies and minds, as Dogen puts it. All we ever knew has to fall away, as Kyogen said. We have to discover our “fractal wrongness,” as some scientists call it: our universal wrongness, the incredible fact that we have been wrong about literally everything. At least once we must discover this, for the faucet of the Dharma to really open up.

Once there is even a small hole, the Dharma can start to seep through.

Yamada Koun said that once a student has had a kensho experience, it is up to the teacher to work on it, to help it to grow clearer and deeper in the student, by means of the “hammer and tongs, bellows and forge” of koan study (as Dahui called it). Through this, the student’s Dharma Eye is gradually encouraged to clarify and focus itself, and to see more, to open wider, and deeper. Yamada Koun actually says that at the point of entering koan study, the student has done their bit and it is now up to the teacher.

Then the dripping of the dharma tap can turn into a trickle, the trickle into a little stream, the stream into a steady flow, the flow into a mountain brook, and the brook into a river, the river into a spring spate, into a rush, a torrent, a cascade, a big river, a mighty river, a vast quiet river.

You wouldn’t think our hearts could bear it. So much love pouring in and through.


Written by Henry Shukman, from our Newsletter archives.

Image credit: Wisdom-Seeds of Light, by Hartwig HKD, CC by-ND 2.0, from
Featured Image Credit: Fractal, by DavidZydd, CC0 Public Domain, from

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