As a child I would spend my summer days at the neighborhood swimming pool. There I would stay cool, play with my friends and undertake feats of daringdo on the diving board. Every once in a while, I would take my towel, tie it around my neck, run and jump off the board shoutingat the top of my lungs,SUPERMAN!!!! I desperately wanted a superpower. Still do.
What is your superpower? Can you fly? Jump tall buildings in a single bound? Hold your breath for hours? How about bi-locate? Can you be two places at once? As we imagine ourselves with superpowers, we imagine as it could be "if only," A desire for miracles has us wishing for another life, apart from the day in and day out of our present lives.
Sometimes like Luke Skywalker, I long for the power of persausive speech. Or in a particularly packed day, I find myself thinking, "super speed." I imagine myself with the superpowers that will help be "rise above" any challenge -- a Master of the Universe -- my universe anyway.
The tea lady in the koan exhibits superpowers beyond the imagination. Can you see it? With Nanquan and the others, can you show her your superpower? There is another way around it: Where do you live?
Here's the koan.
Magu, Nanquan, and another monk went to call on the teacher Jingshan. On the way they met a woman whom they asked, “Which way is the road to Jingshan?”
She said, “Go straight ahead.”
He asked, “Where do you live, lady?”
The woman said, “Right here.”
The three monks went to her shop, and the woman prepared a pot of tea and brought three cups. She said to them, “Oh monks, let those of you with miraculous powers drink tea.” As the three looked at each other, the woman said, “Watch this decrepit old woman show her own miraculous power.” Then she picked up the cups, poured the tea, and went out.