We polish the tile to enjoy, appreciate, and know its tile-ness Barry Magid May 2nd 2015

Shobogenzo Kokyo

One day Nangaku visited Baso's hut. Baso stood and greeted him. Nangaku asked, "What have you been doing recently?" Baso replied, "I've done nothing but sit in zazen." Then Nangaku asked, "Why do you continually sit in zazen?" Baso answered "I sit in zazen in order to become a Buddha." Nangaku picked up a tile he found by the side of Basos hut and started to polish it. Baso watched what he was doing and asked "Master, what are you doing?" Nangaku answered, "I'm polishing this tile." Baso asked "Why are you polishing the tile?" Nangaku answered, "To make a mirror." Baso said, "How can you make a mirror by polishing a tile?" And Nangaku replied, "How can you become a Buddha by doing zazen?"
***
We must understand that when the polished tile is the mirror, Baso is Buddha. When Baso is Buddha, Baso directly becomes Buddha. When Baso is Baso his zazen directly becomes zazen. So polishing the tile to make a mirror is the essence of the Buddhas and Patriarchs. Accordingly the tile becomes the ancient mirror. And when we polish the mirror we will find untainted and pure practice. This is done not because there is dust on the tile, but simply to polish the tile for its own sake. In this the virtue of becoming the mirror will be realized.

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