Sunday, 30 July 2017


148. In the final chapter of his book Philosophical Meditations on Zen Buddhism, Dale S. Wright recounts a mondo from The Recorded Sayings of Ma-tsu. It goes like this: 'When Hui-hai Ta-chu, the "great pearl," came to the master Ma-tsu to study Zen, Ma-tsu shocked him with the question, "Why are you here searching when you already possess the treasure you're looking for?" "What treasure?" In response Ma-tsu replied: "The one who is right now questioning me" '(Wright, 1998:215). This exchange might remind us of Hakuin Zenji's Song of Zazen, especially the lines that say, 'How sad that people ignore the near/ And search for truth afar;/ Like someone in the midst of water crying out in thirst;/ Like a child of a wealthy home lost among the poor'.

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