buddhism

The way to study true Zen is not verbal

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Photo by flickr user Sascha Sormann. Appearing via Creative Commons license. All rights revert to originator.

“I feel sorry that I cannot help you very much. But the way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, whether you think it is good or bad, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude. Sometimes you will do things without much reason, like a child who draws pictures whether they are good or bad. If that is difficult for you, you are not actually ready to practice zazen.”

— Shunryu Suzuki, Not Always So

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Sengkan and transformative illumination

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Photo by flickr user Abdul Rahman. (CC) All rights revert to originator

It’s really this simple: like unzipping a zipper.

When Daoxin (the 4th Patriarch) was 14 he traveled to see Sengkan, so named since his transformative encounter with Master Hui’ke.

Daoxin pleaded “I beg the master to have mercy. Please instruct me on how to achieve release.”

The master said “Is there someone who constrains you?”

Daoxin said “There is no such person.”

The master said “Why then seek release when you are constrained by no one?”

Layman Pang

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“Only hope to make empty that which exists.
Be careful not to make real that which does not exist.”

-Shōbōgenzō, Case 16

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Image by flickr user Mark Robinson, appearing under Creative Commons license. All rights revert to the originator.

Ikkyu – A Fisherman

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Photo by flickr user Francesco Paroni Sterbini. Used under cc: All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Francesco Paroni Sterbini. Used under cc: All rights revert to originator.

A Fisherman

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

-Ikkyū, 15th c. Japan

Ryōkan Taigu – Wild Roses

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Photo by flickr user Java Tourism. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.
Photo by flickr user Java Tourism. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator.

Wild roses,
Plucked from fields
Full of croaking frogs:
Float them in  your wine
And enjoy every minute!

-Ryōkan Taigu, 18th c. Japan

A single drop of water

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Photo by flickr user Christiaan Triebert. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator
Photo by flickr user Christiaan Triebert. Used by cc: All rights revert to the originator

甚生阿難三十年爲侍者、
祇爲多聞智慧被佛訶。
云、汝千日學慧、不如一日學道。
若不學道、滴水難消。

For thirty years the wise Ananda ministered to the Buddha’s personal needs;
but, because he was too fond of acquiring knowledge, the Buddha admonished him,
saying: ‘If you pursue knowledge for a thousand days that will avail you less than one day’s proper study of the Way.
If you do not study it, you will be unable to digest even a single drop of water!’

-Master Huangbo Xiyun (Hsi Yun), 9th c. China

That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha

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Photo by flickr user Iñaki Bolumburu. Used by cc: license. All rights revert to originator.
Photo by flickr user Iñaki Bolumburu. Used by cc: license. All rights revert to originator.

“The universal mind is no mind and is completely detached from form. Only study how to avoid seeking for or clinging to anything. If nothing is sought, the mind will remain in its unborn state. If nothing is clung to, the mind will not go through the process of destruction. That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha.”

-Master Huangbo Xiyun (Hsi Yun), 9th c. China