2 thoughts on “The Hole Of Each Case: Linji, Zen & Koan Practice

  1. Ah! I am back from the mountains and I’ve brought them with me!

    I hope you’re news years/holiday went well. I’m sorting things through right now… I am on your second video of Joshu, but thought I’d share what I’ve already have as opposed to hoarding them and then dropping all of it on you…

    I’ve always thought of the Molten Lead Ball in the throat as a description of both trying to explain enlightenment and of course, studying it. The molten lead ball is the great matter, enlightenment. It’s hot and undeniable, yet you can’t spit it up, and you can’t swallow it. Of course there are a few ways to interpret this… this is how I went about it. To swallow it would to be to ‘accept it’ or to ‘grasp’ it fully, to understand it for yourself. Good luck with that. To spit it up would be to deny it, or to escape it, maybe even to demonstrate it clearly, “Here, see, *that’s* the molten lead ball I’ve been talking about!”.

    It being lodged in your throat fits the sort of ‘holding no proposition’, you can’t deny it, and you can’t accept it. It is, and is not. It seems it would be with you at every point of study, beginning middle and end, it never leaves your throat.

    Maybe this also molds into your comments about the transmutation of objectivity and subjectivity… I think you could stretch the metaphor, and, may even highlight the difficulty or pain that goes on in that process.

    I enjoy Linji’s “Stacking a head on a head” Or “putting on a head to look for a head”.. It was one of those two. It reminds me of something from the “Treasury of the Eye of True Teaching”, it pretty much goes like,

    “What is it to study the self”

    “The fire god comes looking for fire!”

    I wanted to add, that along with the podcast, my peers have put together a searchable database that contains the major Zen classics… It’s extremely useful for finding similar terms and themes across the works… While it’s a bit on the ‘hush-hush’ I thought you might really get some good mileage out of it.


    Anyway, school starts up next week, so I will try to comment on each video before then.

    1. Thank you again for your insights. I’ve thought about the ball of hot iron much as you do, and the fire god koan fits. Thank you and your friends for the site. I will make use of it! I did not get to make the final few videos on Zen yet, but they will come out soon, along with more material for Asian Philosophy this semester.

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