Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do Dogs Have Buddha Nature?

Click on collage to enlarge!
I asked that question to my teacher one day. That was certainly beginner's mind. I can't remember what he said, but he was kind not to tell me that it wasn't an original question. He did (and still does) gives me a guilt trip whenever I try to understand life with my too discursive mind.

Barbara Kohn, the Austin Zen Center head teacher who proceeded Kosho McCall, taught a koan class that I took. There we read the koan. Mark Bykoski, a fellow zen student who reads Chinese, translated the koan from the Chinese for JustThis. I thought it was particularily revealing that the various answers the elder monk gives is predicated on him being asked the question. Here's a funny twist on the koan which ends with a similar "Because you have to ask."

I was greatly relieved one day to learn that Buddha Nature is not the goodie two-shoes in us, but rather who we really are. Perhaps it is an onion with all its skin removed, or maybe, rather than removing the skins, we merely have to polish the skins so that the nature of the onion is revealed.

In any case, I'm stuck with some preliminary questions before I can answer this age-old canine question: is there a dog, and is there me?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a famous zen koan

The answer is 'Wu" (or 'Mu' in Japan.)

Joshua, 1980