Koan: Someone asked, “The ancestors said that everyone has it, but I’m covered with the dust of the world and don’t know whether I do or not.” 

Caoshan said, “Show me your hand.” Then he pointed to the questioner’s fingers: “One, two, three, four, five. Enough!”

~ PZI Miscellaneous Koans

Sometimes in Zen, we think what we need to awaken is greater confidence, or better conditions. What we really need is greater faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in the process. I picked up this koan with a friend this week, and we talked about the simple lesson of how we sometimes feel unworthy in our practice and in our lives; we are “covered in the dust of the world.”

It made me recall a story from some years ago, when I thought I had lost confidence in my practice, but instead came to understand I had lost faith in the process. Embracing faith is itself awakening.


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