Live up to your attainment with care

Live up to your attainment with care.
Sixth Patriarch

In this koan (see the full text below), Myo awakened. (Reality awakened to itself, awakened from temporarily taking itself to be Myo.)

And after awakening, there is the process of living from it with care. It can easily be obscured, and that happens as soon as we take any story as true or identify with any viewpoint.

As Byron Katie says, we are awakened – or not – to a thought. The thought that is here now.

23. Think Neither Good Nor Evil

The Sixth Patriarch was once pursued by the Monk Myo to Daiyurei. The Patriarch, seeing Myo coming, laid the robe and bowl on a stone, and said, “This robe symbolizes faith; how can it be fought for by force? I will leave it to you to take it.” Myo tried to take up the robe, but it was as immovable as the mountain. Myo was terrified and hesitated. he said, “I have come for Dharma, not for the robe. I beg you, please teach me, O lay brother!” The Sixth Patriarch said, “Think neither good nor evil. At such a moment, what is the True Self of Monnk Myo?” At this, Myo was at once enlightened. His whole body was dripping with sweat. With tears he made a bow and asked, “Beside these secret words and meanings, is there any further significance or not?” The Patriarch said, “What I have just told you is not secret. If you will realize your True Self, what is secret is in you-yourself.” Myo said, “Although at Obai I followed other monks in training, I did not awaken to my True Self. Thanks to your instruction, which is to the point, I am like one who has drunk water and actually experienced himself whether it is cold or warm. You are really my teacher, lay brother!” The Patriarch said, “If you are so awakened, both you and I have Obai as our teacher. Live up to your attainment with care.”

Mumonkan, The Gateless Gate



  • live up to your attainment with care
    • yang: don’t allow yourself to fall into old patterns (think you are right, protect a viewpoint/role etc.)
    • yin: notice when it happens, find what is more true for you
    • live with integrity: absolute + relative truths (relative: what seems most sane, mature, wise, kind. absolute: no fixed identification with any viewpoint)
    • awakening, then often a process of learning to trust, learning how to live from it, learning how to recognize when attach to a story/viewpoint as true, etc.

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