This weeks koan

Winners and Losers


One of the most painful things we human beings can do is to compare ourselves with others. It’s mostly unavoidable and it’s always incomplete, and even if I come out on top, it still doesn’t make me happy, because I’m lonely then. So it’s like this: I’m older or prettier or stupider, or richer, or have more cows or friends or children than you. My mind just works that way. As always, there must be awakening here, too.


Sometimes koans make you uncomfortable as you see your own particular kind of suffering inside them. If this happens, it means that there’s something powerful for you here. And sometimes the difficulty turns to laughter, or tears, or appreciation.


The Koan


Two people roll up the blinds, in exactly the same way. The teacher says, “one gains, one loses.”




  1. Have you ever been in a situation that you thought was terribly unfair? What happened? What did you do?
  2. Do you care about other people’s opinion of you?
  3. Do you judge other people, compare them? Compare yourself?
  4. What are the kinds of injustice in the world that really get to you?
  5. Are you usually the one who “gains” or the one who “loses”? Or does it vary

By Rachel Boughton




Walking Down Blanco Road at Midnight by Naomi Shihab Nye

There is a folding into the self which occurs
when the lights are small on the horizon
and no light is shining into the face.

It happens in a quiet place.
It is a quiet unfolding,
like going to sleep in
the comfortable family home.
When everyone else goes to sleep
the house folds up
The windows shut their eyes.
If you are inside you are automatically folded.
If you are outside walking by the folded house
you feel so lonesome you think you are going crazy.

You are not going crazy.
You are beginning to fold up in your own single way.
You feel your edges move toward center,
your heart like a folded blanket unfolding
and folding in with everything contained.
You feel like you do not need anyone to love you anymore
because you already feel everything.
you feel it, you fold it, and for awhile now,
it will quietly rest.


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