Book Of Serenity, Case 4

Book Of Serenity, Case 4

The Case: As the Buddha was walking with his monks, he pointed to the ground with his finger and said “This place is a good place to build a temple”. Indra, Emperor of the gods, took a blade of grass, stuck it in the ground and said “The temple is built”.The Buddha smiled.

“This place” is not a location, “This place” is thusness, the place of practice. “The ground” is the same ground that Buddha touched during his enlightenment. “Temple” is not a structure, it is this place. Because practice and realisation are not separate, in this place there is always a temple.

We are each a blade of grass within all existence. We are taken out of the ground of being and through practice we are restored to the ground.

Each time we practice, we burn a stick of incense. A stump of incense, no longer than a small stalk of grass, remains in the bowl. Over time, many stumps, hundreds of grasses. When we are on sesshin, the stumps are gathered from the bowl and thrown upwards, into the empty open air. Hundreds of temples are falling.