where can the dust alight?

fabrice dozias


The Fifth Ancestor

Daimin Konin wanted to find

his successor. He asked the monks to write

a poem to express their understanding. Jinshu,

the headmonk, wrote the following poem

on the wall in the middle

of the night:


Our body is the bodhi tree,
our mind a mirror bright.
Carefully wipe then hour by hour,
and let no dust alight.


When Eno saw this

next day, he said to the monk

standing next to him, “I too have a poem.

Since I am illiterate, would you

write it down for me?”


There is no bodhi tree,
nor stand of a mirror bright.
Since all is void,
where can the dust alight?


When Konin saw this, he

knew the author had the understanding

he was looking for, and he recognized Eno as

his dharma heir and hence the

Sixth Ancestor.


Shunryu Suzuki

branching streams flow in the darkness


serve as an example to others



You serve

as an example to others by

sacrificing your ego and accepting 

the guidance of the Higher



The hexagram

Ting concerns the nourishment

and guidance one must have in order to fully

succeed. While the culture around us often encourages

us to “take charge” and make aggressive demands on life, the

I Ching offers far wiser counsel. Here we are encouraged

to give up the incessant demands of our ego —  

to deepen our humility and acceptance

and to listen carefully to the

instructions of the



The image

of the caldron concerns

your inner thoughts: whatever you hold

in the “caldron” of your mind is your offering

to the Higher Power. The quality of assistance you can

receive from the universe is governed by the quality of your

offering. If you constantly indulge in the concerns of the ego —

fears, desires, strategies to control, harshness toward others —

you repel the Higher Power and block your own nourishment.

If, on the other hand, you consciously let go of your

resistance to life and hold quiet and correct

thoughts, you become receptive to the

Creative and your continual

nourishment is



Ting comes

to suggest that the wisest

thing that you can do now is to still

your ego and conscientiously enter into 

conversation with the Sage. To influence others, or to

achieve a proper goal, follow the same path. By cultivating

humility and acceptance, purifying your inner thoughts,

and concentrating on that which is good and innocent

and true, you summon the power of the Creative

and meet with good fortune in

the outer world.


from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 50, Ting / The Caldron


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