Jiaoan (Chinese, eleventh–twelfth centuries) was the niece of a high official of the Song dynasty. When she was young, she decided not to marry or bear children and she set her heart on the way of Chan. She experienced a clear awakening at the words of Master Yuanwu Keqin as he spoke to the assembly. Later, Yuanwu said to her [Jiaoan], “You should go on to erase your views— then you will finally be free.”
She answered in verse:
The pillar pulls out the bone sideways;
the void shows its claws and fangs;
even if one profoundly understands,
there is still sand in the eye.
Zenki Mary Mocine’s Reflection (excerpt): … What is this sand? I think it represents our small self, our humanity. We must include this small self within our profound understanding of the “Big Self” that includes everyone, or we fall off into one-sided practice. So we must practice everyday life, but with the mind of emptiness. We need to include our emotions and views in our practice so as to see their emptiness. I have found that my life works when I do not try to suppress emotions or deny that I have views. When I deny them, they just sneak up on me later and cause problems. …