Monday, 21 September 2015


(2) Zen talk can be dangerous. An ancient master made a mistake in speaking and was re-born five hundred times as a fox. Another master, after writing up his insights regarding the Heart-Mind of Zen, found himself exclaiming, 'Words! The Way is beyond language'. Faced with what is 'beyond language' we might best listen to the philosopher Wittgenstein who said, 'Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent'. Indeed silence was the Buddha's response to the non-Buddhist philosopher who put this request, 'I do not ask for words. I do not ask for non-words'. Nevertheless, a Zen Master will demand of us, 'Say something! Say something!' And here we find ourselves in a double bind. For even to say true things about the Great Matter of Zen is somehow to get it wrong. As one nameless monk put it a long time ago,'Both speech and silence are faulty. Speech spoils the transcendence, and silence spoils its manifestation'. And still the Master demands of us, 'Say something! Say something!'

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