Riffing on Case 42 from the Doorless Gate, here are some words to invite you into our koan meditation:
The Assembly of Buddhas has concluded, didn’t she notice?
The girl still sits at ease next to the Buddha in blissful contemplation, “deep in samadhi’s three-shadowed earth.”
Manjusri, he of the keenest, most incisive wisdom, scratches his head. What gives?
Here she is, at ease in a place of honor, after the party’s over?
“Why not ask her?’ is the question of the Awakened One.
Not so easy. All the supernatural powers of the “Guardian of the Crystal Palace”….and she is unmoved.
But just a mention of the Bodhisattva of Deceived-Wisdom brings him from the kingdoms beneath the underworld.
Hears his instructions, snaps fingers, and Oh! Here she is!
These days I sometimes notice I’m waiting, waiting for powerful, incisive wisdom to bring forth fresh girl-power from deep in my meditation-ridden body-mind to meet the moment. Or sometimes maybe it seems I don’t deserve the ordinary bliss of my meditation. Have I earned it?
And then something weird or irritating or gorgeous or puzzling or utterly mundane happens; I brush my teeth, I notice I’m hungry, or my hip is talking to me again; I hear that news and know it’s time to send a donation, or write a letter or make a call; I wonder how an old friend is doing. Oh, there’s grass right in next to my little collards! What was my neighbor thinking when he once again appeared in his driveway with the Roundup? And I look up and 20 magpies are flying over!
The Gatha for this koan says,
One could awaken her, the other could not:
either way, they move with perfect freedom.
Spirit masks, ghost faces: it’s all deception.
Truth is, we live free and easy on the wind.
(David Hinton translation of the Gatha)