Dizang’s “Nearness”

Summer ZMC Path

Dizang’s “Nearness”

Dizang asked Fayan, “Where are you going?
Fayan said, “Around on pilgrimage.”
Dizang said, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?”
Fayan said, “I don’t know.”
Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”

Case 20 from The Book of Serenity, trans. Cleary

The koan referenced in the talk is “Ziyong’s Ship of Compassion” (China, 17th century) with Daijaku Judith Kinst’s Reflection, from The Hidden Lamp: Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women, Ed. Caplow & Moon, 2013:

    A scholar traveled a long distance to meet with Master Ziyong Chengru. He entered the hall and he and Ziyong looked at each other. Then the scholar said, “I’ve come to visit this ‘Ship of Compassion,’ but who would have guessed that the ‘Ship of Compassion’ would turn out to be nothing but an old crone?”
     Ziyong gave an earthshaking roar, “What is this place? Tell me. Is it male? Or is it female?”
    When the scholar couldn’t reply, she said to him, “Come closer and I’ll tell you.”
    When the scholar was right in front of her, she grabbed him and said, “From the day you left Spirit Mountain, there has been no place to seek; from this day on, mother and son are united.”
    The scholar said, “I trust you completely,” and bowing the Ziyong, requested ordination from her.

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