How To Escape?

Here's a Friday afternoon practice bump for ya:

I've been working through an advance copy of Thomas Cleary's translation of Dahui's Treasury of the Eye of the True Teaching (aka, Shobogenzo, to be posthumously published by Shambhala in the fall). I'm doing the groundwork for a review for the Wild Fox Zen blog. However, given that there are 658 selections in the text ... well, it'll take as long as it takes.

The following teaching is much like the Huanglong Nan piece (#278 in the same work) I recently shared here. In my view, both selections capture our personal and collective predicament at this historical moment and powerfully highlight the importance of the koan perspective (aka, the practice of awakening).

With a clear dharma eye, the apparent conundrum Master Bajiao has for us isn't a conundrum at all, but simply an invitation for wholehearted functioning.

How to escape? How? How? How?

286. Master Bajiao said to an assembly,

"Suppose someone traveling suddenly comes upon a ten-thousand fathom pit in front of them, while a wildfire is approaching them from behind. On both sides are thickets of thorns. If they go ahead, they falls into the pit; if they retreat, the wildfire burns them. If they turn to either side, they are obstructed by a forest of thorns. Now how can they escape? If they can escape, they must have a way out. If they can’t escape, they are a fallen dead person."