Tuesday, 25 September 2018


262. Bodhidharma says: 'Without depending on words and letters'. Sengcan says: 'The Way is beyond language' and 'The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth'. And again: 'Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know'. Mumon Ekai says: 'you must completely cut off the way of thinking'. The teaching of these ancient masters is echoed in the words of Mu Soeng, a contemporary Buddhist scholar, when he says: ' ... cultivation and realization of the Great Way is not dependent on words and verbal understanding'.
     We have learnt all this through the words and writings of these various authorities! Or have we?

Sunday, 23 September 2018


261. The sixth century Chinese master Sengcan makes the seemingly outlandish claim that if you 'stop talking and thinking' then 'there is nothing you will not be able to know'. What could this possibly mean?

Sunday, 9 September 2018


260. Alone in the bush at Gorricks Run:

                    mid-night wake-up call -
                    thunder lightning rain and hail
                    beat upon my tent

                    high hills half hidden
                    in this early morning mist -
                    a zen ink painting

Tuesday, 4 September 2018


259. Sitting in the prescribed meditation posture best enables you to 'arouse your entire body' with its many parts ('its three hundred and sixty bones and joints and its eighty-four thousand pores of the skin'). But more is required than physical involvement. You must also 'summon up a spirit of great doubt'. You must come face to face with your pure, unformulated question, your wonderment at life, the world, and all it contains. With both body and mind fully engaged, you must now concentrate, focus, bring all your energies to bear 'on this one word "Mu"'. And here you will find yourself asking, perhaps almost despairingly, 'What is Mu?' 

Monday, 3 September 2018


258. Just sitting and paying attention to ... what? Well, there's a lot going on: sensations, perceptions, mental reactions, consciousness. The 'ten thousand things' are right here, in this place, at this very moment. (And you thought 'they' were all 'out there'.) But where is Oneness?

Sunday, 2 September 2018


257. Master Sengcan writes: 'Do not search for the truth; only cease to hold opinions'. This might sound like giving up on Truth (with a capital T). But this is not so. Rather it would have us examine all those 'truths' that we think we know and see just how many of them are simply opinions. Here  Plato's theory of knowledge might prove helpful. For him opinion, no matter how well informed, does not rise to the level of knowledge. Having tested the knowledge content of our various opinions let us go on to see just what we really know about the big issues in life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Then we should be in a better position to see where we stand in relation to Truth.  

Saturday, 1 September 2018


256. Go to the circus and watch the trapeze artists in action - fliers and catchers. Learn about letting-go and holding-firm.