using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
60 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2015 dynamics in koan practice is how students want to please the teacher. Teachers are authorities; they have the ability to tell you whether you’re right or wrong, and you can’t argue back at them. You want them to like you, to think you’re smart. You want this person’s approval, but you can’t truly engage in the process unless you give that up. You might get some right answers, you might get approved by the teacher here and there, you might even have some kind of awakening. But you can’t deeply engage in the process unless you’ve given up that desire for approval and learn how to completely focus on the work. BODhIN KJOLhEDE: In my fifteen years of koan train- ing with Roshi Kapleau, I found that I sometimes got more out of being rung out of dokusan with my answer rejected than I did by getting the koan approved, because it exposed my frustration, self- doubt, and anger. I had plenty of anger toward him sometimes when he would throw me out, which was all great grist for the mill for giving up self- consciousness and attachment to the self. JuDy ROITMAN: And it’s important that this anger and frustration is arising in a situation that has abso- lutely no consequences. I always tell people that koan practice is a no-consequence situation—not passing a koan is not going to affect your marriage or your children or your job. It doesn’t go onto your permanent record. People get angry, hate them- selves, go into self-abnegation—all over something that really has no practical consequences. When your answer is not approved, you get to see how your mind creates these feelings; you get to see your karma in a certain way. There’s a koan that we use, not one of the classical ones—I can’t say it here without ruining it, but almost always, people’s first response is a very goody-two-shoes answer, very pious, the solution of a good little boy or girl. How wonderful for somebody to be told No! No! No! to the answer they expect to get approved. Koans reveal the karma everyone carries around with them. JOAN SuThERLAND: Students bring an aspiration into the room, which is their connection to their own I sometimes got more out of being rung out of dokusan with my answer rejected than I did by getting the koan approved— it exposed my frustration, self-doubt, and anger. —Bodhin Kjolhede states—not dependent upon your particular state at a particular moment. JuDy ROITMAN: The Kwan Um School does koan work very differently in that we don’t make koans the object of meditation. In Korean Zen, the hwadu [Chinese, huatou] tradition involves asking the Great Question, most commonly in the form of What am I? or What is this? We offer many dif- ferent kinds of meditation practice, but in clas- sical hwadu practice, you’re not looking for an “answer,” you’re using the question to attain your true nature, to cut through conceptual thoughts like a hot knife through butter. My teacher Zen Master Seung Sahn would say, “I don’t teach Buddhism, I only teach ‘don’t know.’” One technique he taught was to question on the in-breath What am I? and on the out-breath to reply very strongly Don’t know. So in the con- text of this “don’t know” tradition, when we work with koans, our practice is to let the koan come up naturally, not to hold on to it but to look at it when it arises. Not trying to intellectualize, not trying to analyze, just looking at it from different angles, as if turning an object in the palm of your hand and then letting it go. It’s the hwadu, the “don’t know,” that we tell students to carry into their lives, not so much the individual koan. BuDDhADhARMA: In this ongoing practice, what is the dynamic between teacher and student? It seems that it could be quite intimate and intense. JuDy ROITMAN: To me, one of the most revealing