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Buddhadharma : Fall 2015
fall 2 0 1 5 buDDhaDharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 61 My message to you is this: You are fine. Live your life fully, but stop chasing after things. This does not mean that you should give up what you have or move to the mountains. No. You are active participants in the world, in society, yet at the same time, you are not bound or defined by the different roles you play, the different things you do. Resolve your existential dilemma or question; that’s what this case is all about. The Chan way is to force practitioners to confront this again and again, until they have no way out but to face and resolve it. This is no easy task. But the alternative is that we live in delusion and don’t live in a “straightfor- ward” way. “Who am I? What is the meaning of all this?” We are conditioned to put aside these existential questions, to obscure them behind the facade of makeup, better products, iPads, fancy clothes, a new car, or a bigger house. The whole world becomes a mask that prevents us from confront- ing our life’s purpose. It’s not to say that we should deny the world and not have these things. Vimala- kirti had all of them! But amid all this material that blinds and conceals, what is it? Where is our wisdom? Zhaozhou is able to see through the facade. Here, he teaches his disciples to do the same. He instills this sense of wonderment in us, what we call the great “doubt sensation,” or questioning mind. The great doubt is not suspicion but is founded on great conviction that comes from personal experi- ence of buddhadharma, which runs through our veins like blood. It is that which makes us come alive. This gong’an can make you come alive. Where is the Mount Wutai in your life? How are you going about getting there? Are you cooking sand and expecting rice? Are you dredging through mud filled with thorns? What have your teachers, and all the generations of masters, seen through? Straight ahead! Landscape by Fan Song