Friday, 29 March 2019


300. 'Why does the Barbarian from the West have no beard?' Even after 'passing' this koan in dokusan, it is worthwhile returning to it again and again. How important is questioning in one's practice of Zen? (The significance of Wakuan's 'why?'). Why is Bodhidharma referred to as 'the Barbarian'? And why from 'the West'? What is to be understood by 'having no beard'? One can dig deeper into this koan if one asks: 'Why does this Barbarian from the West have no beard?' Important to see how this koan, and the questions it gives rise to, have a bearing on one's own practice not only of zazen but also of one's living Zen in everyday life. Indeed, what is it that is lacking in one's own practice? (In my practice?!). 

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