Orientation: This talk is the first of four from our Autumn 2013 sesshin. Click here for the full playlist from this sesshin.

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About this talk: 

There is no other way to walk the Way than through the gate of Mu. No other way to truly ‘Make yourselves comfortable’, as we say at the beginning of Teisho. ‘Does a dog have Buddha Nature or not?’ asks the monk, of Zhaozhou.

Although it is not a koan about dogs in the end, I do find something delightfully instructive about the presence of a dog leading the Way in the case of Mu. Think about the way a dog proceeds on a walk… with great alertness, listening, hearing everything. Nothing is left unattended by the receptive ears and nose. But the path of any relaxed dog is not effortful, it is instead mysterious – it proceeds in fits and starts, circles back, involves playing, the odd twirl and pounce. The path of Mu also involves pouncing and twirling…literally twirling completely around, and that is the spirit to bring to your practice. An imaginative, even visionary mind is not out of place in working with Mu, you may bring to it everything that your soul has gathered into itself up to now. Nothing should be left out, on the contrary everything is waiting to be included. I want to encourage you to look for the way in which Mu is constantly waiting on all of us, on our every move, it leaves nothing and none of us out.

In an interesting encounter Daiju came to Baso and Baso asked, ‘What do you come here for?’ That’s a great question to ask yourself every time you walk in: ‘What am I doing here? What do I come here for?’ Daiju replied, ‘To seek Buddha Dharma.’ What is this original untrammeled nature, how can I know it for myself and settle it in my own heart? Baso replies, ‘I have nothing to give you.’ Mu does not have or have not, offers no way to get something. There is nothing to get. And it cannot be ‘given’ by anybody except you. He goes on, ‘Why do you ignore the treasure of your own house and wander so far from home?’ Why seek Buddha-Dharma as though it were somewhere other than where and what you are.


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