CASE #5: The Person of the Way
Gyosen said: “Heaven and earth answer no practical purpose, yet embrace all things. Thus is the person of the Way.”
Hotei in a Boat
Gyosen (d. 1278) first studied Shingon teachings. Later, he mastered a variety of other meditation practices, including nembutsu, reciting the Buddha’s name.
How could heaven and earth be answerable to anything other than themselves? For there to be a practical purpose in Nature, first there would need to be impracticality, and nowhere can we find such a thing.
Asked certain questions, the Buddha remained silent. “The world isn’t answerable to your question,” he might have said. “You are answerable to the world.” But why add burdens to an already burdened mind?
The person of the Way doesn’t seek any purpose. He’s not that big a blockhead, hasn’t come so far only to make a mockery of the journey by asking what it is for. After all, what could be the point? Is there some other Way out there he’s thinking of following, in case this one doesn’t turn out how he likes?
I asked the river
About its destination
And came out lucky:
It babbled about nothing
And never came to a point
Green Koans Case 1: Shakyamuni Touches the Earth
Green Koans Case 2: Shantideva’s Sword
Green Koans Case 3: The Great Compassionate One’s True Eye
Green Koans Case 4: One-Page Dharma
Green Koans Case 5: The Person of the Way
Green Koans Case 6: The Green Yogi
Green Koans Case 7: Rain of the Law
Green Koans Case 8: Bashō’s Last Words
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters