We are free ourselves insofar as our lives become more playful. Playing is what we are doing when we do not need to gain something from a situation.
– D. Loy and L. Goodhew
This Week’s Koan
Blue Cliff Record #23
Baofu and Changqing Go on a Picnic
Once Baofu and Changqing went out on a picnic in the hills.
Baofu, pointing with a finger, said, “Right here is the summit of Myo Peak.” [Literally, “The Peak of Wonder”]
Changqing said, “Exactly. But, it’s regrettable.”
(Xuedou commented saying, “What’s the use of making an excursion with these fellows today?”
He again said, “Hundreds and thousands of years from now, I don’t say that there will be none like him, only that there will be very few.”)
Later, they reported to Jingqing about it. Jingqing said, “If it weren’t for Changqing, you would see only skeletons in the field.”
Baofu (Japanese: Hofuku, b. 868), and Changqing (Japanese: Chokei, b. 854) are often seen as companions, bantering and playing off each other. Baofu, Changqing, Jingqing (Japanese: Kyosei, b. 867), along with Yunmen (Japanese: Ummon, b. 864) were dharma brothers, disciples of Xuefeng (Japanese: Seppo, b. 822).
Katsuki Sekida’s translation replaces Changqing’s “But, it’s regrettable” with the simple and poignant, “Alas.”
What is that “alas”? We stand upon the peak of wonder. Wherefore, “alas”?
This Week’s Reading
Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special, “The Tomato Fighters,” p. 97.
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