teisho 1062 (2006)
How does one come to terms with what is beyond all terms? How does one find a foothold in that within which there are no footholds? It is the seeming impossibility of this work which is its challenge.
Ask yourself: What is for me of utmost concern? What my colleagues think of me? to get as much money as I can? to get as comfortable as I can? Is it to get as secure as I can? That concern, that is the way in. That concern is Mu, Who. Without that fundamental concern, they are just techniques.
Ultimately one reaches a dead end. But it is not until you have pushed the questioning of any koan to its limits that the koan will yield its truth.
People have a koan and all they want is to find an answer, some fancy way to demonstrate it. This is a waste of time.
Because we have covered everything over with the screen of words, including ourselves, the miracle of being constantly evades us. The miracle of being, I am, is like a pearl thrown in the mud. We do not recognise the astounding quality of ‘that I am’ – it has no meaning in the way that words normally find their meaning.
Everything is out there, everything except ‘I am’. Everything takes its stand from ‘I am’. ‘I am’ is the screen against which the drama of life is projected, and we take it for granted.
We are trying to find truth as an ongoing condition, we think it has a substratum, that it is something we can grasp, something we can know. We want to have it, to name it, to label it. Yet the whole secret of practice is to see it on the fly.
One needs to find out what the koan is about, what is the twist of the koan? Mu is the transcendent of anything that can be known. Every koan has this imponderable quality. It is a way of revealing what ‘I am’ means. Without asking the question, there is nothing that can be done.
In that asking is all that you need to know. In that asking is the resolution you are seeking so ardently. But you are looking outside it, you are looking to add something to the questioning, you are looking for an answer. Don’t look for an answer, find ways to deepen the questioning. Because the questioning is you. There is nothing outside that questioning. When you sit and question it means that you are putting into action this marvelous, creative essence which is yourself. Your question is your treasure.