The Narrow Gate

Luke 13:18-30

Do your best to enter through the narrow gate… many will try to find the way in, and won’t be able to. Once the head of the household gets up and shuts the door and you are left outside, knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open to us!’ —then he will answer you, ‘I don’t know you or your hometown.’ Then you will say, “We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets,” and he will speak, declaring to you,  

“I do not know you, or where you come from!  Back off! Employees of injustice; workers in falsehood!”

From the Zen rodeo:

Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope.

Moving freely vertically and horizontally without obstruction is the way of outsiders and the nightmare army.

To preserve the heart mind and to purify it by letting impurities settle to the bottom in quiescence is the perverted Zen of silent illumination.

Neglecting the written records with unrestrained ideas is falling into a deep pit.

To be awake and not ignorant is to wear chains and shoulder a cangue. (a pillory, or yoke)

Thinking good and thinking evil are the halls of heaven and hell.

A view of Buddha and a view of Dharma are the two enclosing mountains of iron.

A person who perceives thoughts as they immediately arise is fiddling with spectral consciousness.

However, being on a high plateau practicing samadhi is the stratagem of living in the house of ghosts.

To advance results in ignoring truth; to retreat results in contradicting the lineage.

Neither to advance nor to retreat is being a breathing corpse.

Just say, how will you walk?

You must work hard to live in the present and, to finish, all the more. I do not advise the unfortunate excess of continual suffering.

                                    (Mumonkan— the Zen Caveats)

Narrow gates; gateless barriers; the impossibility of achieving anything through awakening. Mumon says, “You can’t get there from here!”

I think this is exactly what Jesus is talking about: to try and try to get in through the gate that has no opening.

What gets in our way? Only all the things we think we know!

“Let us in!”

“Nope! Don’t know you!”

Crying at the gate gets us nothing

but turning away gets us even less.

Maybe getting nothing is the whole point.

Maybe it doesn’t matter what we know.

Just keep on doing our best; that’s it?

That’s not it,

But carry on anyway…….


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