As I continue to spend time with Hongzhi, in preparation for our October retreat with the Book of Serenity, I also continue to notice the rhymes with Taoism that are present in Chan. Wind and clouds and dragons are all images taken from Taoism.
In the Tao te Ching there is a story about Confucius meeting Laozi. In the story Confucius says, “I know a bird can fly; I know a fish can swim; I know animals can run. Creatures that run can be caught in nets; those that swim can be caught in wicker traps; those that fly can be hit by arrows. But the dragon is beyond my knowledge; it ascends into heaven on the clouds and the wind. Today I have seen Lao Tzu, and he is like the dragon!”
In the Tao te Ching the music of earth is said to be produced by the spontaneity of the wind. The music of heaven is the music of silence. The Dragon traverses between heaven and earth as freely as the wind and clouds it rides, not needing to ask permission or explain. Wind is also a powerful symbol of creativity, transformation as well as freedom in Taoism. That freedom is the same freedom that koan meditation practice offers us as we traverse between the music of heaven and the music of earth, riding the wind and clouds, embodying the dragons that we are.