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Buddhadharma : Summer 2016
68 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 6 ➤ thought to be, Let’s play a trick on Xuedou. But in my training and teach- ing, we look for something much more intimate, a recognition of the relation- ship that exists between two people of the Way, two friends who have seen through the love of knowing and the love of not-knowing. How was Deshan’s talk different from usual? Perhaps in the way that nothing resembles anything else. Or did he too have a new opening to the mean- ing of not knowing the last word of Zen? Perhaps he discovered a freedom to drop even more of his old habit of being an expert? Just before his own death, three years after the story in Case 13, Deshan said, “Groping after what is empty and chas- ing echoes will only fatigue your mind and spirit. Beyond awakening from a dream and then going beyond this awakening, what matters remain?” Dreaming into the vivid reality of koans, we see that everything we encounter in our ordinary life is another type of koan, the genjokoan in Japanese, the koan of everyday life. Deshan asks us to awaken from all of our dreams and then go beyond our awakening. Years later, after Deshan’s death, Yantou tells one of his students, “If only I had been able to tell Xuedou the last word of Zen—it’s only just this!” All along, we have been on a journey to here, to this profoundly ordinary life, where dreams and awakening, empti- ness and form, the relative and absolute, all dissolve into only this moment. What is the last word of Zen? As Wumen says in his poem, “as to this, it is not one word.” It is only just this, only the touch of my fingers on the keyboard, the sound of the wind in the trees, the cool- ness of the air, the intimacy of my own breathing. What is the last word of Zen? Moment by moment, ever changing, it can be known only briefly before it flies away. I can’t tell you what it is, but you can discover it for yourself. Only in this place, right now, in this very life, can you discover what you have always longed for. What are you waiting for? INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY IMS’s Forest Refuge program is for experienced meditators only. For more information, visit www.dharma.org or call 978-355-2063 Deepen your practice Experience a personal retreat at IMS’s Forest Refuge • Choose the length of your stay – retreat periods range from seven nights to a year or more • Develop an individual program of silent practice – supported by teacher talks and interviews • Balance solititude with community – meditate with others or in your private room • Strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance