So if within three years a koan has not dropped by itself, with the mind, and you don’t enter into being, into the silence of being where there is no question and no answer – then please stop the koan. Don’t let it become a habit; don’t let it become a mental conditioning.
The first thing is to make your gaze straight, and to give you strength as you stand on the brink of the river bank.
For the past two or three years, I have been giving, in my interviews, three koans: “The true face before father and mother were born….”
Not only you, but before your father and mother were born – your true face. There is no way to find where you were, what your true face was….
Second, “The heart, the buddha.” Find the heart which is the buddha.
And the third, “No heart, no buddha.” These three koans he has used. There are a thousand and one koans – anything which is insoluble, which looks beautiful but when you start working on it, you find that you have come to the end of the road; it does not go anywhere.
For one facing the turbulence of life-and-death, these koans clear away the sandy soil of worldly concerns and open up the golden treasure which was there from the beginning, the ageless root of all things.
The koan can do a miracle, although it is just a device. The question is with what urgency, with what totality, you make your whole mind concerned only with the koan, twenty-four hours. It is not something that you do for one hour and forget about it.
It is a monastery method. Remember, there are methods which are individual and you can do anywhere, and there are methods which are monastery methods; you can do them only in a monastery, where you are allowed to meditate twenty-four hours, where there is nothing else to do but to meditate.
The koan is a monastery method. If you can put in all your energy, not leaving a small chunk of your consciousness aside, as is the habit of people…They never stake everything. For safety, for an emergency, they keep holding something back. They never put all they have into the method.