Monday, 20 February 2017


88. The Zen practitioner is urged to 'listen with the eye, see with the ear'. That is to say, Zen recognises that in order to listen effectively it is not enough to rely on the ear alone or, to see what is right in front of you, to rely solely on the eye. Zen listening is a whole person activity. In the words of the great thirteenth century Chinese monk Mumon Ekai: 'Arouse your entire body with its three hundred and sixty bones and joints and its eighty-four thousand pores of the skin; summon up a spirit of great doubt and concentrate ...' Listen with this degree of total concentration and discover that suddenly 'internal and external are spontaneously united'. Listen like this and you will not only 'stop the tolling of the distant temple bell' but will also become most intimate with 'the sound of one hand'.  

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