Read an Excerpt
From First Gate: Joju's Dog
Someone asked JoJu Zen Master, "Does a
dog have buddha-nature?"
JoJu said, "Mu." ("No.")
The first question is: Buddha said all things have buddha-nature. Nature means substance. All things have this substance. But JoJu said a dog had no buddha-nature. Which one is correct?
The second question is: JoJu said, "Mu." What does mu mean? This mu has no meaning. If you find a meaning, that's a big mistake. If you are attached to yes and no, you will have a problem. Mu is behind yes and no. Behind yes and no means behind everything. Our world is an opposites world—heaven, earth; yes, no; man, woman; good, bad—what is not opposites? But who made these opposites? God, Buddha, human beings? We make opposites. If you put it all down, return to before thinking, then there are no opposites. If you have no opposites then mu is alive. If you have opposites thinking, then mu hits you. JoJu said, "Mu," so this monk is very surprised.
This third question is: Does a dog have buddha-nature? What can you do? Many students understand this, but understanding cannot help. You must attain the correct function of freedom from life and death—only understanding freedom from life and death cannot help you.