Pure mind and the individual

The relationship of the two must be the hardest thing to express accurately in words. This difficulty has led to the great variety of attempts to express it better: "You have always had Buddha nature," "The Father and I are one," "That art thou," "The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything," "Allah is the sustainer" and so on

I have nothing to add to this millenia-old discussion except to say that perhaps I like the Zen approach the best: don't say anything about it at all. Just get the disciple to sit.


  1. Yet, as Dainin Katagiri put it, "you have to say something".

    Kyogen said: "Zen is like a man hanging in a tree by his teeth over a precipice. His hands grasp no branch, his feet rest on no limb, and under the tree another person asks him: 'Why did Bodhidharma come to China from India?'

    "If the man in the tree does not answer, he fails; and if he does answer, he falls and loses his life. Now what shall he do?"

    Mumon's comment: In such a predicament the most talented eloquence is of no use. If you have memorized all the sutras, you cannot use them. When you can give the right answer, even though your past road was one of death, you open up a new road of life. But if you cannot answer, you should live ages hence and ask the future Buddha, Maitreya.

    Kyogen is truly a fool

    Spreading that ego-killing poison

    That closes his pupils' mouths

    And lets their tears stream from their dead eyes.


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