Sweeping away all the parts of ourselves we'd rather not deal with Barry Magid September 10th 2016

Tozan tells us, after leaving the monastery gate we should go where there is no grass for a thousand miles. Two other masters tell us there's grass inside the gate and outside the gate. How do we carry what we cultivate forward into the world? What are we doing when we sit? Are we tempted to create a clearing in our life? Sweeping away all the bits of ourselves we'd rather not deal with? We have to look at what we consciously or unconsciously try to cultivate in our sitting. What do we try to banish or make not me? We need to come to terms with everything that's sprouting in the world and inside us.

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The Book of Equanimity, Case 89 Tozan's no grass


Move, and your body is buried ten thousand feet deep.
Don't move, and right there a sprout grows.
You'll be fine if you quickly sweep away both of these
and can cast out the in between.
Furthermore, buy straw sandals and go on a pilgrimage to realize it.

The Main Case

Master Tozan addressed the assembly saying, "It's the beginning of Autumn, and it's Summer's end, my brothers. Some of you will go East and some West. But straight away go to a place where there's no grass for ten thousand miles." After a pause he added, "But for such a place where there is no grass for ten thousand miles, how can you go there?"

Later Master Sekito said, "Go out the gate, and there's grass."
And Master Taiyo said, "Don't go out the gate, and there's grass everywhere."


Grass all over.
You, inside and outside the gate, see for yourself.
In a thicket of briars it's easy to place your feet.
In darkness outside drawn blinds it's hard to turn your body around.
See, see how many?
For a time be as an old tree with wintry skeletal branches.
Be about to pursue the spring breezes.
About to enter the burned out fields.

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