The Gateless Gate, Case 1

The Gateless Gate, Case 1.

The case: A monk asked Joshu “Does a dog have Buddha nature?”

Joshu said “Mu” (no).

Commentary: There is an assumption buried within the question, which isn’t immediately obvious. But consider: why didn’t the monk ask ” Does Buddha nature have the dog?” ” Does Buddha nature have you?”, “Is Buddha nature all of creation?” or similar?

He did not because he assumed that the aim of spiritual life is the enhancement and enlightenment of the self, the steady or sudden uncovering of a jewel within us.

This colossal mistake is endemic. We need to understand that the aim of practice isn’t the liberation of the self from the world, but the liberation of the world – all of it – from the self. Enlightenment is universal, not personal.

We are like snow falling.