The True Ch’ien referred to in the above koan, is a longer folk tale of a young woman, who runs away from home with her childhood friend, has a family, and returns after six years to apologize for eloping, only to find that her spirit laid comatose in her bed all these years.
.. in Taoist practice, mid-step is considered to be the most powerful position. Standing on one foot, balanced, we are more stable than with both feet firmly planted on the ground.
To meet someone ‘face-to-face’ is the apotheosis of meeting someone, the quintessence of meeting. It is not uncommon for those practicing meditation to elevate the condition of meeting face-to-face to the equivalent of divine status.
In Chan/Zen, ‘meeting the ancestor face to face’, is to meet the other and ourselves with the innocence and freedom of an infant.
I relished the beauty of moonlight quivering reflectively on the surface of the water above. But the blown-hair sword would not leave me alone. It was insistent. I had to include it. It was searing, severing, terrifying. A sword that sharp implied an execution.
What is it to receive? And, when is our receiving most vibrant and without habits of deflection or weird flashes of unworthiness or indebtedness?
Dharma talk on Youtube tonight- Koans are like divinations, or Yi King readings, or friends who show up to help you see your own face and your own life. In the koan world, there is no moment of your life that is not true and real.
One of the worst things that can happen to someone in Chinese culture is to “lose” face, as a Chinese idiom goes, “People can’t live without face, trees can’t live without bark.”
What if not being able to be put back together was not a bad thing? It felt reminiscent of the way my meditation practice can disassemble my concepts and ideas and how that is a good thing. I like the association of the rhyme with the overthrow of the monarchy. It reminds me of the way my koan practice overthrows the “monarchy” of my ego.