Case 3 from the Iron Ox Record

An Illinois sunrise is an Indian sunset. Without leaving this room, which is true?


This gong-an would be easy if not for the second part. One person’s sunrise is another’s sunset on the other side of the world. Both are happening in the same moment. They’re both true because sunrise is sunrise, and sunset is sunset. Yet they’re also both false because sunrise isn’t just sunrise, it’s also sunset, zenith, and every other time of day simultaneously.

But that’s easy secondhand knowledge and analysis, not firsthand wisdom. It’s a logician’s nonduality, not a Buddha’s. So, we have to approach the gong-an without leaving this room, without using imagination.

Without using imagination, what is Illinois? What is India? What are sunrise and sunset? If you can answer that on the spot with your gut, then you know which is true.

Capping Verse

71 cents for a pound of rice
50 rupees owed upfront—
The scale is broken

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