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.

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