|It's dark, dark...|
Koan: A teacher and student talked far into the night. “It’s getting late,” said the teacher, “time for you to leave.” The student opened the door, looked out saying, “It’s dark, dark.” The teacher lit a candle and handed it to the student. Just as the student was about to take the candle, the teacher blew it out.
Gateless Barrier #28
…It’s dark… There’s the turning out of lights at bedtime. Trust, no fears, no doubt, just the ease of falling asleep.
…dark… and we see here, dark, dark… the the fear and doubt of the darkness outside. Am I unsure my defects of character can be removed…that my H.P. could do this?
…the teacher lit a candle… A sense of gratitude may have appeared in the student, the candle will help ease the fear of what is out there in the dark. I am ready to go now. My sponsor is a teacher of sorts.
…the teacher blew it out… Oh no, I’m scared again. Why did the teacher blow out my candle and put me back into a state of fear? There must be a lesson in this.
Perhaps the teacher (my sponsor) is telling me that I don’t need the candle, to have faith in myself. When I’m ready, God is ready. When I’m willing to put my life into the hands of God, what is there to fear? By doing this I’ve discovered that I have my own light that comes from within -- candle of trust, a light of readiness.
…time for you to leave… to leave that feeling of being left in the dark, to leave the feeling of what could happen, that I’m not prepared -- to leave the conversation with my sponsor about Steps 4 and 5 and move on. . My H.P. and Step 6 (and 7) shine brightly.
All of this happens, simply by flipping the switch of readiness. I still need to be reminded of this all the time. What or who can I rely upon in situations of darkness? Step 6 reminds me, its my Higher Power of course! Step 6 is putting Step 3 into action.
In sitting with koans, any part of a koan will do. This time it was the word “dark” that kept appearing. This, in turn brought to mind Shitou xiquian and an excerpt from his “Taking Part in the Gathering” as it appears in our sutra book:
The darkness is inside the bright,
But don’t look only with the eyes of the dark.
The brightness is inside the dark,
But don’t look only through the eye of the bright.
Bright and dark are a pair,
Like the front foot and back foot walking.