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Buddhadharma : Winter 2017
melissa myozen blacker 99 be touched, remotely at first. It’s an invitation. Guishan is asking, “What will you do, my old friend, with this moment?” Liu invites him to a feast—a simple and direct response from the world of consensus reality. There is nothing complicated. Yuanwu comments on this directness, comparing Liu’s words to an arrow that doesn’t miss its target: “In Tang Dynasty, beat a drum; in Korea, dance.” Be appropriate to the place and the situation you’re in. She is like the arrow, suddenly releasing itself into the air with no hesitation. And now the story takes a turn. Guishan doesn’t answer from the binary, dualistic world. He simply lies down. Yuanwu approves. As he comments, Guishan has made an accurate hit himself. Two arrows have met in midair. The mist is dissipated—any confusion is set aside. Liu responds by leaving. There’s nothing more to say. Yuanwu approves of this, too, and calls it a celebration. The line “meeting the pivot and acting” refers to the capacity to quickly transform from oneness to differentiation at the moment the situation pivots. Every- thing balances on a fine point, ready to change in a heartbeat. If we have learned to live in both the worlds of oneness and form, we can perform this dance together. The last two lines of this new translation—“Iron Grindstone Liu! / Nun—yes!” are not usually found in modern koan collections; Dosho Port told me he discovered them in the Chinese characters. He and I were mutually delighted with them. For me, they are the affirmation of a strong woman who can play in the fields of empti- ness and form, as required. wanting to be a good Zen student, i worked hard to view gender as empty, but as time went on, i had to admit this view was limited.