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    Joshu asked Nansen: `What is the path?'
    Nansen said: `Everyday life is the path.'
    Joshu asked: `Can it be studied?'
    Nansen said: `If you try to study, you will be far away from it.'
    Joshu asked: `If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?'

    Nansen said: `The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.'

    At these words Joshu was enlightened.

    Mumon's Comment: Nansen could met Joshu's frozen doubts at once when Joshu asked his questions. I doubt that if Joshu reached the point that Nansen did. He needed thirty more years of study.

    In spring, hundreds of flowers; in autumn, a harvest moon;
    In the summer, a refreshing breeze; in winter snow will accompany you.
    If useless things do not hang in your mind,
    Any season is a good season for you.


    (Working with this koan here, as I go. At the end I'll remove the koan itself so that the page isn't so cluttered) 

    If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.'

    The sky is pervasive... everywhere. Things 'appear' in the sky but it doesn't hold them... doesn't even try.

    It would never occur to the sky to do such a thing as try to pin everything down. :) 

    "Beyond doubt" seems interesting in this sentence, because it conveys a sense of surrender. One 'beyond doubt' isn't wrestling with hope or fear. The sky is at rest, so its 'hands' are open... generous. :) Nothing left out or taken in. 

    "You name it" speaks to our tendency to label "this is bad, this is good."

    I once engaged in an exercize of listing good events and bad events in my life. Step two was to take each 'bad' event and see what came of it that was good, etc. Then to do the same with 'good' events. Working with this broke down a sense of frozen labeling, as I could see that some of the deepest treasures came out of things no one would choose to go through, and that some of the big accomplishments were very 'thin' or unsatisfying over time.

    So one relinquishes a bit of their trust in their *own* 'ordinary mind' sense of responsibility and intention. I mean, most if not all of our trying to control and label and box, we do with a sense of good intentions and of taking responsibility? But perhaps our scope is small. We are taking responsibility for this thing and that thing, this thought and that worry... but what about getting to the end of that and letting 'what you are in a larger sense' take responsibility? 


    So in that context/seating, everything that arises, is itself path. Life. I hesitate to say that it is 'food', but that is sometimes the imagery I have when thinking about resting in meditation... that everything (good, bad, happy, sad, rainy, snowing, sunshine) appears openly and is felt to take up no 'space'... is kind of eaten up. 

    Or offered in some way.


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