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. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2019


357. Master Seng-ts'an is reported to have said, 'You should realise that the sacred Way is traveled in mystery and not fathomed by explanations'. And so we are reminded, yet again, that 'not knowing is most intimate'. Or, in the words of Saint John of the Cross, 'In order to arrive at what we do not know, we must go by a way that we do not know'. 

Monday, 5 August 2019


356. 'When you realize what the real is,' says Master Mumon Ekai, 'you will see that we pass from one husk to another like travelers stopping for a night's lodging.' In zazen, focusing on the breath, we pass from one breathing moment to the next. How can we abide where there is no abiding?