Zen Koan #42: Parable of The Dead Man’s Answer – Buddhist Teaching on Mindful Breathing

Zen Koan #42: Parable of The Dead Man's Answer - Buddhist Teaching on Mindful Breathing Despair and anxiety can never be worked through until one confronts them in their stark and full reality. One can never apply some center from the outside. Difficult as the task is, we must accept ourselves and our society where we are, and find our ethical center through a deeper understanding of ourselves as well as through a courageous confronting of our historical situation. In this edification from the outset sitting in cogitation does not concern the mind nor does it concern purity. If you omit delusions, then the pristine nature reveals its purity. If you activate your mind to view purity without realizing that your own nature is pristinely pristine, delusions of purity will be engendered.

The ease of understanding was related to whether a koan was difficult or easy for a particular participant and also for the reason that some koans are designed to produce different effects on the student. It is not a five-star Hotel or the kind. If you have faith in the mind of equanimity and non-distinction, you have faith in no mind. When you grasp onto something, find a blissful medium. However, if there is no such duality, then there is no oneness to speak of either. Do not discombobulate this with enlightenment.

Zen Koan: “The Dead Man’s Answer” Parable

When Mamiya, who later became a well-known preacher, went to a teacher for personal guidance, he was asked to explain the sound of one hand.

Mamiya concentrated upon what the sound of one hand might be. “You are not working hard enough,” his teacher told him. “You are too attached to food, wealth, things, and that sound. It would be better if you died. That would solve the problem.”

The next time Mamiya appeared before his teacher he was again asked what he had to show regarding the sound of one hand. Mamiya at once fell over as if he were dead.

“You are dead all right,” observed the teacher, “But how about that sound?”

“I haven’t solved that yet,” replied Mamiya, looking up.

“Dead men do not speak,” said the teacher. “Get out!”

Buddhist Insight on Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is the state of mind is very peaceful and you stop grasping it. In addition, if you haven’t found it, it’s really a crucial part of spiritual practice to look for it. As just explained, after being taught how to enter consistent with the vehicles of cause and characteristics, as the fruition, there is the instruction to enter the vehicles of secret mantra. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes in Creating True Peace: Ending Conflict in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community and the World,

To breathe in mindfully is to be aware that air is entering our body, and to breathe out mindfully is to know that air is leaving our body. The moment our mind is attentive to the contact between our body and the air, we are also in contact with our mind, just as it is. It takes only one conscious breath to be in touch with ourselves and the world around us. Then, with each mindful breath, ease is restored to our body and mind.

Zen Koan #41: Parable of Joshu’s Zen – Buddhist Teaching on Being with Disappointment

Zen Koan #41: Parable of Joshu's Zen - Buddhist Teaching on Being with Disappointment Our struggle is obligatory, but it is eventually just our inclination to be present that counts and that this is the true effort of the way. Glad to know that you have time to meditate. In a country like America, where people can do so many things, and where there are so many distractions, to meditate is not easy. One gets older doing this and that, finding no real satisfaction in anything. Coming to accept that there is nothing wrong with me has been a very important part of growing up.

How can one be certain that there was a Teacher known as the Buddha? We present everything to the object of our surrendering. The basic act of surrender does not involve the worship of an external power. Rather it means working together with inspiration, so that one becomes an open vessel into which knowledge can be poured. You may feel liberated. If you do this, you are grasping the false. For instance, suppose you endeavor to clear a blocked pipe by pushing another object into it.

You can see the tip of each blade of grass and the outline of every leaf. The person who is seeking to attain is separate from the attainment, the object of his search. All of your actions will boomerang back to you and you will have to take the consequences.

Zen Koan: “Joshu’s Zen” Parable

Joshu began the study of Zen when he was sixty years old and continued until he was eighty, when he realized Zen.

He taught from the age of eighty until he was one hundred and twenty.

A student once asked him: “If I haven’t anything in my mind, what shall I do?”

Joshu replied: “Throw it out.”

“But if I haven’t anything, how can I throw it out?” continued the questioner.

“Well,” said Joshu, “then carry it out.”

Buddhist Insight on Being With Disappointment

Wisdom is also this development of patience, love, or constancy that you go through so many cycles. Unfortunately, the truth dealt with by science is only a partial one. By looking for complexities of developing and perfecting within the primordial unstructured presence of the nature and disenchantment, the essence without accepting and rejecting will not be seen. The American Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck writes in Nothing Special: Living Zen,

When we refuse to work with our disappointment, we break the Precepts: rather than experience the disappointment, we resort to anger, greed, gossip, criticism. Yet it’s the moment of being that disappointment which is fruitful; and, if we are not willing to do that, at least we should notice that we are not willing. The moment of disappointment in life is an incomparable gift that we receive many times a day if we’re alert. This gift is always present in anyone’s life, the moment when “It’s not the way I want it.”