Saturday, 28 September 2019


364. Coming to rest in a deep interior silence is a beautiful experience. The temptation is to cling to what is so comforting, so restful. But the Way of the Awakened is without end and so we are challenged to step from the top of the hundred foot pole. 

Sunday, 15 September 2019


363. Sengcan, the third Chinese ancestor, concludes his great enlightenment poem Xinxinming with the assertion 'Words! The Way is beyond language, for in it there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today'. This might suggest that words can be dispensed with and that the truly enlightened will always maintain a noble silence. Clearly Sengcan would not agree with such a suggestion as he uses words to point to that which lies beyond their reach. 

Monday, 19 August 2019


362. The real fact of the Buddha's 'just sitting there', in response to the non-Buddhist philosopher's question, transcends the phenomenal world of dualistic opposition. Likewise with your practice of Shikantaza. 

Friday, 16 August 2019


361. 'I do not ask for words. I do not ask for non-words.' What is the non-Buddhist philosopher asking of the Buddha here? 'Words' refer to the things of the phenomenal world, that is, to all that is included in being. 'Non-words' refer to emptiness, to non-being. This philosopher wants to know if there is a way that goes beyond both the way of affirmation and the way of negation. The Buddha's response that consisted in just sitting in silence is a manifestation of that which cannot be captured by either speech or silence. The Buddha embodies and bodies forth the True-Self, the Mystery that is Graciousness. 

Thursday, 15 August 2019


360. When a non-Buddhist philosopher told the Buddha that he did not ask for words or non-words, the Buddha's response was to just sit and say nothing. This sitting in silence is the Zen practice of zazen. It is to point directly to the heart-mind, the true-self, without reliance on words or letters. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


359. A nugget of pure gold in Bill Porter's mountain of a book about Zen baggage: Master Seng-ts'an's saying that 'the sacred Way is traveled in mystery'. And this mystery, says Zen Master AMA Samy, is graciousness. 

Sunday, 11 August 2019


358. In Case 32 of the Mumonkan, a non-Buddhist philosopher questions the Buddha. When the Buddha responds to the question that is phrased as a non-question and the philosopher understands, a close disciple of the Buddha is deeply puzzled. So perhaps the most interesting thing about this koan is that the non-Buddhist not only attains understanding but also has his understanding affirmed and praised by the Buddha, while the Buddhist disciple remains in his ignorance. Some important questions must follow from this.