By Paul Toyo
In this adaptation of an ancient story, the teacher is compared to a host in his own house. The guests are those who are trying to study the Way. The guests are people who have never been in a house before and they only have vague ideas about what a house may be. Nevertheless, the house exists.
When the guests enter the house and see the place set aside for sitting, they ask, “What is this about?” They are told, “This is where we sit.” So they sit down on chairs, only dimly aware of the function of a chair.
The host entertains the guests and they continue to ask questions, some quite irrelevant. The host does not blame them for this.
The guests want to know when they will eat. They do not understand that no one is alone, and that at that very moment, others are preparing food for them, and that there is another room where they will eat. The good host puts them at their ease so they can enjoy the food presented to them; at the beginning, the guests are in no condition to approach the food.
Some guests are quicker to understand and they explain to their slower companions. The host, in the meantime, gives each guest an answer in accordance with that person’s capacity to perceive the unity and function of the house.
It is not enough for the house to exist, or for the host to be present. Someone must actively exercise the function of the host, in order for the strangers to become accustomed to the house. In the beginning, the guests may not even be aware they are guests, or what it means to be a guest: what they can bring to it and what it can give them.
An experienced guest can appreciate and understand what the house has to offer. While the guest is trying to understand what a house is or the rules of behavior, he will be too preoccupied with these things to be able to observe the beauty or function of its furniture.
In this manner, our Sensei, Rev. Koyo through his lineage is our host and patient teacher. Gassho.
Paul Toyo Sensei is part of the Lay Minister program with the Bright Dawn Way of Oneness Sangha. To learn more about Bright Dawn Way of Oneness please visit us here.