June 1, 1983 Dharma Talk by Dainin Katagiri Roshi

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This transcript is in rough draft stage.

Listen to this talk on mnzencenter.org


Katagiri Roshi: Today we will study the verse of the 45th case. Let me read the case first:

A monk asked Chao Chou, “The myriad things return to one. Where does the one return to?”

Chou said, “When I was in Ch’ing Chou I made a cloth shirt. It weighed seven pounds.”

This is the whole story. Chao Chou (Zhaozhou Congshen, in Japanese Jōshū Jūshin, 778–897) was one of the famous Zen masters in China, who became a monk when he was sixty years old, and travelled all over China, attained enlightenment at 80 years old, and he lived to 120. Dogen Zenji mentioned him very often in his works. He really respected Chao Chou.

A monk asked Zen Master Chao Chou, “The myriad things return to one…” This is the point everyone understands. Any kind of religion emphasizes [this]. “The myriad things” means all things the world has. In other words, the phenomenal world, if you research [it], study [it] with spiritual eyes, very naturally you can return to one – so-called the truth. The truth is one. Wherever you may go, the truth is exactly one.

So the monk asked Chao Chou, “The myriad things return to one,” but he continued to ask, “where does the one return to?”

This is an interesting point, which not everyone pays attention to. Because it’s pretty hard to know. Most people try to close their eyes, try not to understand one, to where all sentient beings return, because it is pretty mysterious. No matter how long you poke your head into it, you don’t understand it. So most of religion emphasizes “just believe it.” Just believe. Yes, [this is right], in a sense. But it is not exactly right.

So anyway, the monk understands the myriad things, the phenomenal world, returns to one. He understood this, but he didn’t understand why. He didn’t understand one, as the truth.

So if everything returns to one, maybe one should have some place to return. This is very logical understanding. Do you understand? Everything has a certain place to return, [then] even the one, as the truth, should have someplace to return. That’s very logical. So that’s why the monk asked, “Where does the one return to?” But [Chao Chou’s] answer was completely… well, it has nothing to do with his question. [He laughs.] He said:

“When I was in Ch’ing Chou I made a cloth shirt. It weighed seven pounds.”

Ch’ing Chou is the town in China. (Qingzhou.)

Well, that answer seems to be completely far away from his question, but it’s a very sharp or direct answer. That’s why this koan has been handed down from generation to generation: because we don’t understand it, it seems to be a puzzle for us, but it’s a very good answer, it’s a very good question. That’s why it is one of the famous koans.

Well, today, the verse. The verse says:

He wraps everything up and presses against the ancient old awl.
How many people know the weight of the seven-pound shirt?
Right now I throw it down into West Lake;
The pure wind of unburdening—to whom should it be imparted?


He wraps everything up and presses against the ancient old awl.

That’s Joshu Zen Master, Chao Chou. Chao Chou Zen Master was just like an old awl. Do you know the awl? A Japanese awl, the point is very sharp, and [it is] also very square. (Transcriber’s Note: an awl is “a small pointed tool used for piercing holes, especially in leather.”) The metal part is very short, just like the length of a needle, and it’s a little thicker than a needle, but exactly square. The point is very sharp. And then you use it like this, and make a hole.

But “old awl” means if you use it so long, the square[ness] disappears and it becomes round. That means mature. The personality is completely mature, so no corner of the awl. [Most of us are not mature;] if you are not mature, you have lots of corner. That means bumping [into] each other, and anger, hatred – hitting, and crying. [He laughs.] This is immature. If you become mature, there are no corners, so even though you bump somebody, you can slip off. Even though someone tries to grasp you, you don’t have a corner, so it’s just like grasping a boar’s head [from] behind. Do you understand boar head? [Laughter.]

So that is mature, and then we call [that person an] “old awl”; that is the really mature personality of a Zen teacher. And also, it’s very round, no corner, but the point is very sharp, very sharp. Still the point is sharp. But no corner, because that awl was used for many, many years. So this verse called this Chao Chao an “ancient old awl.”

So this monk “wraps everything up” – wrapping everything up means all sentient beings. He understands all sentient beings, where it returns to. So he completely holds, embraces everything. So he understands everything. And then he’s really proud of himself, and let’s [press] against this really old awl, old guy, by the question. Do you understand? This monk was a very tough guy, spiritually, in the discussion with him.

That is the first line.


Let’s look at the commentary on this verse:

Of Fen Yang’s eighteen kinds of questions, this one in the Case is called a “wrapping-up question.”

[Fun’yō], Fen Yang Zen teacher, explained eighteen questions in order to guide monks. This is Fun’yō (Fen Yang) Zen Master’s special way to guide how to make a question, how to answer a question. But it takes time to explain. Anyway, it is called a “wrapping-up” question.

Hsueh Tou says…

Hsueh Tou is the person who composed this verse.

… “He wraps everything up and presses against the ancient old awl.” He wraps up everything and makes it return to unity.

Completely return to unity, because returning to the one.

This monk wanted to press Chao Chou, but Chou too was an adept.

Because he [was an] old awl; no corners. He’s a really great man. So:

Where it was impossible to turn, he had a way to show himself: …

This question is very difficult to answer, because where does one return to? It’s very difficult. Where does divinity return to? Where does the truth return to? Or, where does God return to? We don’t know. It’s pretty hard to say. That’s why [it says] “where it was impossible to turn.” I don’t know; you don’t know; no one knows. But this Zen Master “had a way to show himself” – anyway, he showed himself up, in the place where nobody explains it. That means his saying, “I made a cloth shirt. It weighed seven pounds.” Later I will explain [that].

… daring to open his big mouth he immediately said, “When I was in Ch’ing Chou I made a cloth shirt that weighed seven pounds.”

Last week, I told [you] the meaning of the seven pound shirt. Because the shirt you wear is very light; that is a very common shirt. In other words, a common shirt is your common body and mind. You can see, you can hear… you can understand, pretty well. That is quite right. No one has a body and mind [that] weighs seven pounds, et cetera; it’s very light. But he said, “I made a shirt, but it weighed seven pounds.” [That] means your physical body and mind is very light, but within this body and mind [which] you can understand through your physical eyes, you can create a huge world, so-called the universe. You can create your own creative life, which no one knows. You can do it.

That is your physical body. You do something with your physical body, then immediately you criticize what you are doing. At that time, the doings you have done become very shaky. Because you always see the doings created by your small shirt, you know? Tiny, light shirt. But you can create a bigger, seven-pound-weight shirt. That is really huge, creative life. Which makes your little world, little life – your own individual life – very stable, imperturbable.

So it’s not abstract talking about human life, how to live. Your body is small, but you can create your own life universally. That is called imperturbability, or sometimes we say tranquility, sometimes we say dynamism.

Sometimes we say light; light from the universe. Light from the heavens, mountains… microphones. Anyway, light comes up.

If we see Buddha’s head, it always has a halo. That is a symbol of light. But it’s not real light [that] you can see. Light is exactly very close, intimate relation, intimate communion between you and this beautiful flower.

Because a beautiful flower is not the beautiful flower you can think intellectually. Because I want to ask you: from where [does] that beautiful pink color come? From where does this green color come? Can you explain this? Maybe biologically you can [explain it], but no matter how long you explain how this green color or pink color is created, by what, it is really [the] dualistic sense. If you understand this color dualistically, well, this color can be seen by your physical eyes, but there is no warm, intimate communion there. But if you see this color connected with human warmth, human effort, and also the sun and the moon, the waves, humidity, and dirt; all things come up. And then, we don’t know how this color is made. But, it’s here.

So the fact this color is present right now is […] the implication of functioning or process of the whole universe. Don’t you think so? But it’s not idealistically understanding this. With your whole body and mind, [you] can touch that total process of universal functioning. At that time, you really feel great. You can really have great, actual vivid communion with the flowers, and appreciate this one. And […] at that time, you can really deal with this flower, as well as dealing with your life.

At that time, we say “light coming from the flower.” Because that spiritual communion or human feeling really helps your life. It makes your life really broad, tolerant, magnanimous. That’s why we say “light coming from this pink color,” or “[light coming from the] flowers.” We can say so.

But when you try to see that sense with your busy mind, it’s pretty hard. It’s very hard to see with monkey mind. So that’s why we have to continue to sit down and return to one, return to one, every day. Every day, return to one. But it doesn’t make sense for you; every moment when you experience returning to the one – nothing. But if you continue to do this, sooner or later, you really appreciate this existence. Even the tiny flowers, you really appreciate.

So that is called light. Light comes from everywhere.


(Continuing with the commentary on the verse:)

Hsueh Tou says, “How many people can there be who know the weight of this seven-pound shirt?”

[This part is because,] “I am Katagiri[’s] very small body, but Katagiri creates universal life” – it’s really true, but it’s very difficult to show you, to tell you. That’s why in Zen, particularly in the Soto tradition, you have to learn that point from life. From the living teacher, living together – anyway, learn from everyday. Because it’s very hard to explain.

An individual knows that point in a moment of time only. Even the teacher knows this point in the moment of time only. So that’s why everyday works very well, vividly. And then through this life you have to have your mature eyes to see it, to get it. [So] zuishin means following the body, [which] means following the teacher. [Zuishin is] that system of practice with the teacher – living and studying [with the teacher].

So in Zen, teaching you or educating you is not giving something. You have to live. Even though there is no lecture, no teisho, anyway you just live. That’s pretty hard. Because the human mind is always groping for something, and making noise. Always, “I want, I want, I want.” “I want to be happy,” et cetera. Pretty noisy. So [if] every day you’re just quiet, and taking care of daily routine, without teaching, without [anything] – it’s very hard. But it’s very good medicine.

One of the students is now screaming in San Francisco, because [of] no teachers, no lectures, et cetera. So he was really screaming. But this is very good medicine for us. But I don’t know how to take care of this kind of person. [He laughs.] But that is not others’ story, that is your individual story. Listen to that. You seem to have no such problem, but when you are right in the middle of no teachers, no teachings, and just taking care of daily routine – no fun, no excitement – at that time, you exactly create the same problem. Screaming, hating. [He chuckles.] Hating your teachers, hating everything.

But, it’s very good practice for us. Because at that time, no matter how long you scream, life is life, life is just going. So finally you are exhausted, and finally you just be there and taking care of. That is the final goal you can reach. No matter how long you scream.

For instance, life is just like living in a cage. Cage means limitation. In the cage, limitation – broadly speaking, so-called life and death. Well, strictly speaking, moment after moment. Or, not freedom: regulations, and families, and lots of things there. Is this life completely free? Like in nature – leaving no frame? Mm-mm. (No.) Your life is just like living in a cage. If you are living in a cage, you cannot get out from the cage – because you are there. Nevertheless, in the cage, the most important matter of life and death is to get the freedom there. Because, when you are in a cage, you [are not] alone; there are lions, poisonous snakes, alligators, and monsters there! You don’t know when you [might] die, you [might be] killed by it. At that time, you scream, because you don’t like it. You feel boredom; sometimes you are scared. But what do you do? Just like a mountain cat in a cage: the mountain cat runs all around the cage, but how can he escape? Finally, the mouse is killed by the cat.

But if you are interested in running around in the cage, that’s fine. Most people do. Including me. [Laughter.] We do. Then finally, what can you find? Peace. No way. [He laughs.] Maybe peace could be brought by exhaustion. Exhaustion, or giving up your struggles. Do you understand what I mean? [He laughs.] This is the real situation you always experience, don’t you? But there are not many people who just sit down right in the middle of the cage, who are ready to die anytime: “If the lion wants to eat me, that’s alright; I am sitting here.” That’s pretty hard.

At Eiheiji monastery, they tried to get out one old teacher from the temple when we had the big earthquake. [A bigger earthquake] than the one we had a couple of weeks ago in Japan. Did you know that? It’s a huge earthquake. Anyway, a young monk told him, “Big earthquake! Please, get up, right now!” [He said,] [deep, gravelly voice:] “Okay, I am.” Then the abbot of Eiheiji temple was just taking a bath. Right in the earthquake, he said: “I am taking a bath. Just a minute.” [Laughter.] Can you say that? “Just a minute; I am taking a bath.”

The young monk, a friend of mine, really pushed him to get out from the top of that big building […]. And then he didn’t run, he followed the young monk. The young monk was really irritated; he really wanted to run away immediately. But the teacher was always walking: “Wait a minute; I can’t run. I am following you.” Then when he was right in the middle of the hatto, a big hall – hatto means preaching hall – there was one tatami on the stone there. And then he said, “Well, wherever I may go, I am ready to die, anywhere, any time. So I want to sit down here.” Right in the middle of the big hatto, all this shaking and […]. So the young monk was very confused, and he said, “Excuse me, sir – let me go first.” [Laughter.] And he ran away!

That [was a] very good experience for me. One teacher was always walking in the usual way, never running. And always [he] scolded the monks: “Don’t run.” So he was always walking like this.

We teased him when we had the big earthquake: “What did you do, sir?” [He laughs.] He gave a smile: [deep, gravelly voice:] “I ran.” [Laughter.] We laughed very much.

So it’s pretty easy to say in words, but it’s very hard to do: just sit down there, you are ready to die, to really depend on these circumstances you are facing, exactly. When you are right in the middle of this situation, it’s very hard. We are now a little bit looking at such a situation from a distance, so it’s pretty easy to say so. But when you are there, it’s very hard.

Just like your emotional upset. How do you deal with that? I say, “Never mind; sooner or later, it disappears, so don’t worry, don’t be confused. Don’t panic.” But you say, “Hey – I cannot be calm, because right in the middle of the emotional problem, I am there. How can I get out?” You say so, don’t you? But, this is important for us.

So this is not only emotional problem, but this is a problem of life and death. Life and death is exactly you living in a cage. No matter how long you scream, or try to get out, you never get out. If so, don’t struggle too much. If you run, well, you should run. But not so long, anyway. [He chuckles.] And then, sit down. And see you, and see the whole situation. That’s very good practice for us.

[…] That is really in the small word, so-called life and death, limited by lots of situations, circumstances. That is your body and mind, so-called your life, your death. But – you can get the freedom there. That is the seven pound shirt. You can wear it.

How? That is sit down. “I’m scared” – that’s alright. Sit down anyway. You get enlightenment through zazen – that’s alright, anyway sit down. Or “I feel boredom from zazen” – that’s alright, anyway sit down.

Well, that’s pretty hard practice for us. So that’s why Hsueh Tou says, “How many people can there be who know the weight of this seven-pound shirt?” Because it’s pretty hard. Because that seven pound shirt [is] working individual heart, individual life. It’s very difficult. If you don’t have eyes to see it, you never see [unintelligible].

So anyway, through this actual life, you have to see it. You have to see it. It’s not teaching, or getting something in your hand. Anyway, through your body and mind, you should learn.


(Returning to the verse:)

Right now I throw it down into West Lake; …

“Yes, I understand. I made a shirt, and also that shirt is seven pounds” – that means you can create universal life, so-called tolerance or freedom, and peace and harmony, within the limitation of your life, so-called life and death. You understand this. But, if you really hang on – “I can do it” – you are stuck there. So, if you know this, if you realize “I can have a chance to create this universal creative life” right in the middle of your life, limited by life and death – at that time, you should throw away your ideas. And then, every day, you have to make your life work. Just like this. Just freely work.

So, “Right now I throw it down into West Lake.” We have to throw it away. You can get it, then throw it away. You can get it; throw it away. Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to be stuck. But throw it away doesn’t mean to ignore your life and circumstances, or others’ life. Pay careful attention to your and others’ circumstances, and use your head, use your mind, your brains. But, if you get it, please – throw it away, let go of it. And then you think carefully, and get it, and throw it away. That’s always repeating; we have to do it. “Just sit down”: you can get it. But throw it away. And then sit again. Get it. Throw it away. That means sit down. And so, get it. Throw it away. That is really returning to the one.

And then, where does the one return to? That is, “Sit down, right now.” And then you can get it, and throw it away. This is return to one, and one returns to this present.

This is actual practice, not a matter of philosophical discussion. You have to do it everyday.


So (returning to the commentary):

“Right now I throw it down into West Lake.” Myriad things return to one, but he doesn’t even need the one.

Even the one, you don’t need. Because if you understand the one, then should you hold [onto] it? No. Because one is pretty vast. Even though you try to obey it, try to follow it – you don’t know what it is.

Well, some religions say truth, or God, divinity, et cetera. “All sentient beings are made by God, [or] divinity” – it’s fine, it’s fine. And then we never think, “Where does the one return to?” Because it’s untouchable. It’s untouchable because your intellectual sense never reaches it. So, “if you don’t understand, just believe it.” This is fine. But if you think so – well, God, or whatever you say, truth, or divinity, are completely going far from you, because you can see them objectively. Always at a distance. It’s never alive in your life directly. That’s why next moment, anyway, where is [the] one? How is one alive? We have to think.

Well, maybe naturally we can think of it. “How? Where is it? How does it work?” If you just think, “Well, all sentient beings are made by divinity, and only one divinity,” then we can appreciate it, yes, because we completely depend on this one. That is a particular way to project yourself into your object. That is a logical structure of human feeling, how [it projects] itself into your object. Do you understand?

I told you the other day, [there are] three ways. One way is to completely depend on the self; self-confidence. When you feel good, you’re proud of yourself. If you don’t feel good, you really hate others. Because self-confidence means you bring up yourself first, because you’re so proud of yourself. This is not only a particular person; everyone does this.

[Tape change.]

… that [condition of] self-confidence within individual life. In other words, we are pretty weak, so we have a certain confidence within [an] object. And then at that time, when you don’t feel [good], you feel guilty. Then when you feel good, at that time your really appreciate that object, so-called divinity, that you can completely depend on. This is the second way we can do it.

But in Zen, if you follow the first way or second way, if you follow your life just like this – projecting your feeling into [the] object, finding the peace or harmony – at that time in Zen you are called tanpankan. That means “a guy who carries a board on the shoulder.” That means you can see always the front (of the board), but you never see the back. Tan means “carry,” pan means “a board,” kan means “a guy.” A guy carrying a board on his shoulder. He’s always looking at the front, never seeing the back.

I don’t think it is bad. Still you can live, in that way. But, it becomes a cause of human trouble. It’s pretty hard to live completely [in] peace and harmony. And also the functioning of your brain [is] getting simpler and simpler. That means… I don’t know… not so profound. [He laughs.] [Not] profound, very simple. In other words, your brain becomes very soft, because it’s not necessary to think, to research, to deepen your life itself. But in Zen Buddhism or Buddhism generally, you cannot say, “Yes, sir, thank you. I appreciate it,” and then accept. That’s not all, for human life. “Can you accept smoothly?” – “Yes, sir!” Then the Zen master hits you. “Wake up!” Do you understand? It means [if] you accept in that way, it’s not good enough. So wake up. Why do you accept in that way, very smoothly? Do you understand it? “Yes, sir.” And then bow. Try to live. At that time, right before you live, [noise] there. That means, “Watch out! How much do you understand this?”

In other words, “I believe one, truth; I understand.” If you understand, you should appreciate. How? [Unintelligible.] And then bow, and leave. At that time, the teacher gives you a certain suggestion: how much do you understand? In other words, grasp his [collar] and shake it: “How much do you understand? Is that [the] goal you are seeking for, so-called peace and harmony?” So once again you have to check it.

So Zen masters [did this] directly in the past, in the history of Zen. That’s why you don’t understand this. But it’s very good practice for us. That’s why, “all sentient beings return to one” – that’s fine – but still it’s not good enough. You become tanpankan, anyway.

If you become tanpankan, life is simple, okay? Because you just walk on a one way street. You never return. [He laughs.] That’s simple. But you cannot do it in that way. Most people do it that way, that’s why [they’re] always creating problems. You have to go on the two-way street. Go, come back. Go, come back. Get it, let it go. Get it, let it go. That is important practice for us.

So Zen practice is not “no merit.” “No merit” is get it: because you get it, that’s why Zen has to say “no merit.” “No merit” means you already get merit; that’s why next moment, Zen has to say “no merit,” which means, “let it go.” Anyway – “I’m sorry; let it go.” If you let it go, you can get it – something different; so-called seven pound shirt. You can get it.

If you jump into the ocean, [we’re thinking,] carrying the weight of some doubts and fears. Get [an idea] how to swim, how to jump, and jump in. Jump in means you should let go of your whole body and mind. To where? The ocean. And then does that mean to commit suicide? No. You can get the seven pound shirt, because the ocean helps you while swimming, simultaneously, even though you don’t know how to. Intellectually you know, but if you jump in, immediately it helps you.

So your body and your swimming is really not three pounds, it’s really seven pounds – supported by the ocean and sky, the rhythm of the ocean, and the rhythm of your life.

That’s why here it says, “but he doesn’t even need the one.”

… Since he doesn’t need the seven-pound cloth shirt either, all at once he throws it down into West Lake. When Hsueh Tou dwelt on Tung T’ing’s green peak, there was a West Lake (nearby).

Hsueh Tou lived on Mount Tung T’ing, so there was a green lake to the west.


(The fourth line of the Verse:)

… The pure wind of unburdening—to whom should it be imparted?

“The pure wind of unburdening”: The seven pound shirt is universal life, creative life. That is pretty difficult to teach you, to give you as something particular. It’s pretty difficult, but it’s really this teacher’s heart, this teacher’s daily life. So always that is just like a pure wind of unburdening. It’s really just like a cool [breeze] in summer.

“To whom should it be imparted”: To whom should I give it? How should I give it? Well, you should have eyes, to be ready to get it. At any time, show it. It is living there; that is his life. So if you have eyes to see, you can see it.

So that’s why it says here, (returning to the commentary:)

“The pure wind of unburdening—to whom should it be imparted?” This refers to Chao Chou teaching his assembly, saying, “If you are coming north I will load up for you. If you are coming south I will unload for you. Even if you are coming from Hsueh Feng or Yun Chu, you are still a fellow carrying a board.

So, I told you before, “the pure wind of unburdening” means freedom in one’s life. That is just like a cool breeze passing through the horse pasture. And [it lets] the grasses shake a little bit, and when the wind has passed through, the grasses return to the normal way, refreshed. So constantly going and passing, giving a cool feeling to the grasses, to the insects, to the human beings.

And then, there is no particular direction from where it comes. We don’t know from where. But, it’s there. It’s in your heart. In this teacher’s heart, anyway. So it’s coming up everywhere, whatever he does.

So that’s why this says, “Even if you are coming from Hsueh Feng or Yun Chu…” If you say “I am coming; that freedom comes from the one” – or truth, or from practice, or from the teaching – you are tampankan, you are a guy carrying a board. Because your brain becomes very soft. Not enough going to the depth of the ocean. […] It’s pretty hard to [know] how to deepen, [how to] go to the depth of the ocean, because there is no particular direction. But it’s really [a] fact.

So it’s very difficult to say Buddhism is mysticism. Mysticism [is] coming from understanding where all sentient beings return to with your sense, and then you can get it. At that time, you don’t know what it is, because your brain doesn’t reach it, and then all you have to do is just to believe. And then we say, “That is mysticism.” But it’s not mysticism…

If you see this flower, the life of the flower is really mysticism, because you cannot see how to reach this real pink color. But the problem is, only your brain doesn’t [unintelligible], that’s all. But the life of pink color is exactly here. No problem: it’s here. So no mysticism, nothing. It’s very clear. And then through this life of pink color, you can understand the life of you, exactly the same as this life of this pink color. So how can you create a gap between you and this flower? There is no gap. Because you can learn from this flower.

So that’s why [there is] nothing to mysticism. In Buddhism, we understand mysticism. [He laughs.] But, we have to let it go. You can get mysticism – but it’s not good enough to understand human life deeply. So you have to go through no sense of mysticism. And then, you can really return to sentient beings. One can return to sentient beings. Because within this… not within this; flower itself is really one.

That’s why if you understand idealistically, [then] whatever you say, it doesn’t hit the mark. But your life becomes very simple. You [know,] believe it, and then, you really appreciate. If you don’t feel good, or if your life is not going well, at that time you really feel guilty. But if you feel good, you really appreciate, because that thing, the one, is really helping you. So completely you respect [it].

So you tell everybody: “The world is created by one.” Of course it is. But – that is still you are tanpankan.


Some people would carry a load of Ch’an to Chao Chou’s place, but when they got there they couldn’t make use of it at all. He would set them straight all at once, making them free and easy, without the slightest concern. We say of this, “After awakening it is the same as before awakening.”

People these days all make unconcern an understanding. Some say, “There is no delusion or enlightenment: it is not necessary to go on seeking. Even before the Buddha appeared in the world, before Bodhidharma ever came to this country, it couldn’t have been otherwise. What’s the use of the Buddha appearing in the world? What did the Patriarch still come from the West for?” All such views—what relevance do they have? You must have greatly penetrated and greatly awakened: then as before, mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers; in fact, all the myriad things are perfectly manifest. Then, for the first time, you can be an unconcerned person.

Well. [He clears his throat.] Do you have questions?


Question: Hojo-san? How does one stop being tanpankan? … I mean, [according to] Zen.

Katagiri: Well, [there is] no particular way to stop tanpankan, because you are already tanpankan, anyway. So every day, you have to go beyond tanpankan. Because you are, already. But every day, understand it, and deepen, practice it, get it, let it go. Anyway, get it, let it go… get it, let it go. That is tanpankan: [getting rid] of it.

So you are screaming, and that is already tanpankan. Then when you feel good, you’re really happy: that is also tanpankan. You feel good; well, get it. You can get it, in that way. But let it go. That means, practice. Practice living with all sentient beings. Understanding deeply, anyway.



Question: Hojo-san? Is that the same as having square, sharp edges?

Katagiri: Mmm-hm. That is deepening, or maturing. That is the best way to make your life mature.

1:01:10 end of recording

This talk was transcribed by Kikan Michael Howard. Audio recordings of Katagiri Roshi are being used with permission of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.

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