More About Zen

postureNo need to be in Chains

        Sawaki Roshi:  People call me “Homeless Kodo.” I don’t take it as an insult. They call me that because I have never had a temple or a house. In Reality, everyone is homeless. It is a mistake if you think that you possess a house.

           Uchiyama Roshi:   As his disciple I did not always feel good when I heard Sawaki Roshi was called “Homeless Kodo.”  “Homeless” reminded me of a stray dog or a stray cat. Now I understand that this nickname is really a title for the true person. Everyone is a stray in reality.

Since my teacher was homeless, I had to be homeless as well. The only way I could support myself was begging, being barked at by dogs all day. One day a spitz viciously barked at me, growling and leaping as if it wanted to tear me to pieces. Abruptly the collar chain broke and immediately it began to cower and whine.

A dog threatens with barks and growls when it is chained, but quickly loses its nerve when freed. The spitz’s behavior amused me because it reminded me of a human behavior. Some behave threateningly when they are chained by financial power, titles, or organizations. As soon as their chains are removed, they retreat, feeling  small and powerless. How absurd they are!

Each of us is just a person living alone majestically. For human beings, there is no need to be in chains.