Pema Chödrön

‘The hermit of Lotus Flower Peak held out his staff and said to his disciples, “When in olden times, an adept reached the state of enlightenment, why did they not remain there?” No-one could answer , and he replied for them, “Because it is of no use in the course of life.”‘ (Blue Cliff Record, case 25)

‘Even though peak experiences might show us the truth and inform us about why we are training, they are essentially no big deal. If we can’t integrate them into the ups and downs of our lives, if we cling to them, they will hinder us. We can trust our experiences as valid, but then we have to move on and learn to get along with our neighbors.’ (The Places That Scare You)

I doubt that Pema Chödrön had that koan in mind when she wrote that passage, but having picked up her book, and having looked at the koan this week ahead of Saturday’s workshop, I was struck by the similarity of the message.

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