Ordinary mind is the way. Barry Magid November 18th 2016

This sesshin marks the twentieth anniversary of the founding of ordinary mind zendo and Barry's beginning as a teacher. Here he discusses our eponymous koan. Your ordinary mind, as it is manifests the way. It's not something to seek. It doesn't need purificaiton or transofrmation this means to recognize it for what it is. Joshu's natural inclination in this koan is to make a project of his practice. He wants to direct himself towards something, away from the problems of his life, not seeing that that way of thinking is driving his suffering. What is ordinary mind?

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The Gateless Gate, Case 19 Ordinary mind is the Tao

The Main Case

Chao-chou asked Nan-ch'uan "What is the Tao?"
Nan-ch'uan said "Ordinary mind is the Tao."
Chao-chou asked "Should I try to direct myself toward it?"
Nan-ch'uan said "If you try to direct yourself you betray your own practice."
Chao-chou asked "How can I know the tao if I don't direct myself?"
Nan-ch'uan said "The tao is not subject to knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion. Not knowing is blankness. If you truly reach the genuine tao you will find it is vast and boundless as outer space. How can this be discussed at the level of affirmation and negation?"
With these words Chao-chou had sudden realization.


Questioned by Chao-chou Nan-ch'uan wasted no time in showing the smashed tile and the melted ice where no explanation is possible. Though Chao-chou had realization he could confirm it only after another thirty years of practice.


Spring comes with flowers,
Autumn with the moon,
Summer with breeze,
Winter with snow.
When idle concerns don't hang in your mind,
that is your best season.

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Gayle Maslow November 19th 2016 Gayle Maslow - Jukai

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