teisho 705, (2000)
Eventually, you are going to have to challenge everything in your mind; every understanding, every thought, every prejudice you have must be brought under the microscope of your awareness. This is why one practices with subsequent koans after the first breakthrough.
Awakening is not an experience, it is a new way of experiencing. One no longer sees the world in a fractured way. After an awakening, it takes years of intense work to make that awakening active. It is not the awakening that is at fault, it is the tremendous legacy of habitual reactions, prejudices, opinions. Working with subsequent koans is not the same as working with the original breakthrough koan. These koans deal with the way of seeing that awakening brings into being.
The Four Wisdoms are the four ways of experiencing: there is the initial seeing into the emptiness – dharmas here are empty. But then there is the world of equality, then the world of differentiation. Finally, there is the world of inter-penetration or the world of action. When working on a koan one has to see what the koan is coming at, one has to look at it from this way of experiencing, that way of experiencing.
Fundamentally nothing needs to be done. The Way does not belong to cultivation. Everything, even Mu, even thinking Mu, is gouging a wound in healthy flesh. But we need a place to enter, and so we have koans. A koan is a way of entering into the mystery of our being.
We are not seeking to improve ourselves or purify ourselves. We want to wake up. The personality does not have to be reformed. We need to see into our inherent purity. A turnabout in our experiencing is needed so that one no longer sees the world in a fractured way.
There is that beyond all that you must open yourself to, it is limited by no fixed rules, it presides over heaven and earth. If you try to guess at it you will be confused. Don’t guess about the koan, stay with the tension. The great Way manifests itself naturally. Or we can say the great activity manifests itself naturally. You are not something, activity is truer to your true nature. It is the questioning that is important, arousing the hunger and thirst for wholeness, unity.
Thank you Jean, it is always restorative, hearing these challenging, encouraging words. Stay with it!