2011-05-18

The Old In and Out

Koan of the Week
Blue Cliff Record #33
Chenzao Visits Zifu

Zifu Rubao (Shifuku Nyoho, b. 871?), 13th Generation.
Line: Mazu (8th Gen.) to Baizhang to Guishan to Yangshan to Xita to Zifu.
No notable dharma brothers or descendants.
Other koans with Zifu: "Yanguan and the Rhinocerous Fan" (BCR 91, BOS 25)

THE CASE

National Secretary Chenzao went to see Zifu.
When Zifu saw him coming, he drew a circle.
Chenzao said, "It is already straying from the essence that your student has come to you at all. Why do you draw a circle in addition to that?"
Thereupon Zifu closed the door of his room.
(Xuedou said, "Chenzao has but one eye.")

Did you notice that in Hoop Dreams
You always miss the free throw?
The circle, the daily round,
Does not open to let you out –
You open yourself to it.
Or were you wanting in?
You open yourself.
Did you notice that you don’t know:
When Zifu closed the door, was Chenzao in or out?
Neither did Zifu.

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