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Shaken By The Wind

Proverbs 4:1-27

The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom!
And along with all your getting, get insight! (CJB)

At first, I thought it was a typo, and then I realized it was pretty darn Zen: “…along with all your ‘getting’, get insight!” It made me think of phrases like, “What do I get out of it?” and “Don’t you get it?” and “What you give is what you get.”

The beginning of wisdom is the intention to get wisdom. Alrighty then!

1 John 4:7-21

18 There is no fear in love. On the contrary, love that has achieved its goal gets rid of fear, because fear has to do with punishment; the person who keeps fearing has not been brought to maturity in regard to love. (CJB)

The person who keeps on fearing……. Hoo, boy, do I know somebody like that! The thing is, when you go to practice loving-kindness toward such a person, it’s as if they are oblivious. There’s no space for anything but fear. In cases like that, the love circles aimlessly, like a bee around a silk flower. Nothing to be done.

Matthew 11:7-15

7 …………… “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? (RSV)

Well, yes, sometimes I do. I know that’s not the point, but on the other hand— maybe it is. This passage makes me think of the famous koan, “Mu” about whether a dog has buddha-nature:

A monk asked, "Does a dog have a Buddha-nature or not?"

The master said, "Not!” “[Mu]!"

The monk said, "Above to all the Buddhas, below to the crawling bugs, all have Buddha-nature. Why is it that the dog has not?"

The master said, "Because he has the nature of karmic delusions".


 7 …………… “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind?”

(Matthew 11:7; RSV)

“If you cannot pass through the barrier Mu then you are like a ghost clinging to bushes and grasses.”

(Mumonkan; Mumon’s comment on the koan ‘Mu’.)


The Koan “Nope!”

If you can’t pass the un-passable, you’re a ghost clinging to bushes and grasses.

Nobody can pass this impassible gate, it has no latch; no hinges. It just sits there not suffering.

Clinging to the gate of “Nope!” Does that make me a nope-body?

Not stuck, not free—Nope!

No going through, no going back, no lounging halfway through the door.

Barriers, gates, doors, entrances, exits, thresholds, verges, brinks, beginnings, endings— Nope!

Sitting on the nope-fence; swinging on the gate— that’s me.

Don’t mind me, I’m just a ghost clinging to dried grass in the mist, and off in the distance there’s a gate with rusty hinges creaking in the wind. Don’t go looking for it.

Blowing dust, clouds on the horizon, foggy mountain passes, and vague shorelines grudgingly revealed.

Cold caves with tiny fires, for brewing cups of tea one at a time, and cooking miniscule pots of rice.

I sit endlessly watching this reed shaken by the wind, but still— there ain’t no bugs on me!


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