Koan: ‘All things are like a dream, a fantasy, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning.’ – Diamond Sutra

This quote from the Diamond Sutra could easily be interpreted as, ‘If it is all a dream, then nothing really matters.’ What feels closer to what is true is: If it is all a dream, then everything matters.

I often speak about approaching koan practice as if waking up from a dream and the koan is the dream that you remember, wondering what it means to you, knowing that it is a message from you to you. Since the dream is of our own creating, all of the parts of the dream are us, each with its own perspective and value.

I am like ‘a fantasy’, I am like ‘a drop of dew’, I am like ‘a flash of lightning’. That is a very different perspective than the one that I usually find myself in, which feels quite solid and enduring.

When I have fallen into a place of appreciating the fantastical, evanescent, dreamlike quality of my existence, then when standing in line at the market and an additional checker opens another line and everyone behind me jumps into that line, ahead of me, there is a higher likelihood of me experiencing it as an interesting occurrence, as well as frustrating, rather than just frustrating. It increases my ability to simply live out the inevitable unfurling of my life without adding stories which complicate it. It is said that Zen is difficult because it is so simple.


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