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Koan practice requires perseverance
December 28th, 2013

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Koan practice requires perseverance

   Progression through the koan system varies from person to person, but most often it is irregular, with periods of smooth sailing interrupted by moments of self-doubt and confusion. (…) Just when things are beginning to make sense, the teacher pulls out the rug. Nothing makes sense anymore, and the student is once again thrown into turmoil.

   This pattern repeats itself throughout training. From one perspective, this dance is the basis of the teacher-student relationship. When the student gets comfortable, the teacher pulls the rug and the student falls. The teacher rushes over and helps the student to his feet again; once the student is brushed off and standing firmly, the teacher pulls out the rug again and down he goes. This happens again and again until the teacher can pull the rug without the student falling. They bow to each other and the process is completed: the dharma is transmitted to the next generation.

— John Daido Loori, "The Anatomy of the Zen Koan"

#Zen #Buddhism #koan
Calligraphy: semi-cursive "Mu" (gyōsho) by Nao (