It is a challenge to be working on Genjokoan and it’s inspiring to do that with the teacher that taggs on our sleeves to remind us to avoid the Zen snare of dry, conceptual understanding and encourages us to “have a keen and sensitive busshit detector to do this work “.
Once again – the koan in the Genjo Koan, with Mayu fanning himself and the bowing monk.
Mayu was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, “Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. Why then do you fan yourself?”
“Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent,” Mayu replied,” you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere.”
“What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?” asked the monk again.
Mayu just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.
Dosho tosses us the question again and again:
What did the monk see that he expressed by bowing?
In one of the posts on his blog he writes:
“Now you might find yourself wanting to dismiss the question. “Bowing is just bowing.” This is one-sided, emphasizing not thinking, and so doesn’t have the power to cause a lineage to bloom (or to ripen the great earth’s goldenness). Watch out for the snare using Zen talk to not deal with this issue (or any other)!
What Dogen saw in the monks bow, and what the Genjokoan unpacks in rolling hopping along vividness, had such an enormous power that it caused our lineage to bloom for some hundreds of years with all the freedom that goes with it.
If we today dismiss the needle point of this question or are satisfied with thin explanations, we won’t have the strength of love to bring it forth in our daily life.“
Here’s my humble take on it. We have the preconditions for life: a body and oxygen we find in the air. Yet to realise life itself, to manifest the living, we have to bring oxygen into the body by inhaling the air and exhaling it, inhaling and exhaling… For as long as we live.
The same goes for practice. Practice equals the verb just like breathing is. We cannot breath just by simply understanding the mechanics of it, cognitively knowing how it works. Knowledge of what makes a practice is useless if it is separate from the activities of everyday life. If we stop breathing our organs will not get enough oxygen and will stop functioning. Practice is dead without the realisation of it, the actual doing it. We cannot know the practice, we have to live it.