2011-05-25

Staff Issues

Koan of the Week
Gateless Gate #44
Bajiao’s Staff

Bajiao Huiqing (Basho Esei, b. 880?), 13th Generation.
Line: Mazu (8th Gen.) to Baizhang to Guishan to Yangshan to Nanta to Bajiao.

THE CASE
Master Bajiao said to the assembly, "If you have a staff, I will give it to you. If you have no staff, I will take it away from you!"
WUMEN'S COMMENT AND VERSE
Having it support us, we wade across a river that has no bridge. Having it accompany us, we return to the village on a moonless night. But if you call it a staff, you will go to hell as swiftly as an arrow.

The depths and shallows everywhere
Are all within his grip;
It supports the heavens and sustains the earth,
Everywhere it enhances the spirit of our sect.

What is the self?
This Bajiao said: Facing south and seeing the big dipper.
Such transparency comes from years with the staff,
Getting one home in the dark,
The staff great-great-grandfather Baizhang used to poke
a fox's dead body.
A wild bird returns to her nest
And feeds down the gullets of her young:
What you have is given
continuously.
And lack itself is taken away.
Continuously.
Facing your computer, see the staff.

* * *

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