Thursday, March 18, 2010

100-Foot Pole

Students today cling to their own discriminating minds. Their thinking is based on their own personal views that buddha must be such and such; if it goes against their ideas, they say that buddha cannot be that way. Having such an attitude and wandering here and there in delusion, searching after what conforms to their preconceptions, few of them ever make any progress in the Buddha-Way.

Suppose that you have climbed to the top of a hundred-foot pole, and are told to let go and advance one step further without holding bodily life dear. In such a situation if you say that you can practice the Buddha-Way only when you are alive, you are not really following your teacher. Consider this carefully (from Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Book 1, Chapter 13).

Chinese Zen Master Chosa Keishin (854–935) once wrote:
The immovable person at the top of the hundred-foot pole,
Although he has entered the Way, he has not reached the Truth.
He should advance one step further from the top of the hundred-foot pole,
Then the world in the ten directions is the complete body.

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