Baring my neck to the morning


I was excited to hear that the Rochester Zen Center put up another of Philip Kapleau Roshi’s Teisho talks recently.  This one is from June, 1975 and is a portion of the Mumonkan “Goso’s No words or Silence“.  The only other one that I am familiar with was Kapleau’s exploration of Ummon’s “Every Day is a Good Day” from the Hekiganroku.

Both these talks (especially “Every Day is a Good Day”) powerfully resonate with me.  It does amaze me how beneficial words can be in the hand of someone skilled with them (of course also can be equally dangerous).  While I admit that Kapleau had some controversy in his day whenever I walk outside in the bright morning I can hear his voice…

Every day is … a Good day.

I may not have attained the tracks of birds, nor have flowers rain down upon me but it is the only koan that has stayed in my stream of thought.  That has taken root and grows finding focus without being brought purposefully forward.

When I wake up in the morning, I can hear someone ask me “Are you going up the mountain today?”… I usually answer “Yes” and when I reach the top I never find my words to speak to the abbot.  Instead of parroting wisdom or imitating Ummon, I just bow to the morning and bare my neck – Giving myself humbly to it.  Not a challenge to the new day but accepting what it brings, for better or for worse.

It was especially difficult this morning since I overslept and missed the morning sit.  However the way I was greeted this morning was beyond reproach.  Samsara-toddler decided to poke my eyeballs with her toes until I woke up.



via MindOnly to supplement with a little background music!


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