Sunday, February 22, 2009


Of course Dogen’s words about  body and mind and Zhaochou’s words about the dog form different cases. What will your responses show? If your response to the one case shows a deep personal realization, and your response to the other shows something equally deep, then you’re on your way! Koan study is not a comparative study of concepts.


  1. Roshi, can you say more about the presentational nature of the Way? How does one present body and mind dropped or respond to Mu on the Internet? Can a "deep personal realization" be communicated in this medium? Is this medium any different from letters?

  2. Hi RA Roshi,

    Thank you very much for this guidance.

    Deep Gashso,

  3. Hello Roshi,
    Thank you for this great teaching.

    Is there one underlying or unifying theme that all the koans point to?


  4. As black type unfolds on white screen, a cat purrs on my lap.

    What can Dogen and Zhaozhou add to this?

    Best wishes in the Dharma,

  5. Dear Aitken Roshi,

    Thank you for your instruction.

    I found your words on Dogen were profoundly wise. Your words on Zhaochou though, were so sparse I could not find a trace of wisdom.

    Oh, wait... scratch that. I meant it the other way around.


    Ted Biringer

  6. Yamakoa- There is no underlying theme for Koans. Koans are presentational and non-explanatory. A theme falls into the discursive or explanatory mode. See Cleary's "Blue Cliff Record" pg. 276 Jingqing asked a monk, "What is that sound outside the gate?" The monk said, "The sound of quail." Jingqing said, "If you wish to avoid uniterrupted hell, don't slander the Wheel of the True Dharma of the Tathagata." I think it is clear that with his first question, Jingqing expected a presentational response, and he didn't get it. Take this matter up with your own master, I am just here to ruminate with you and my other friends about Dharma matters. I am retired from teaching. -RA