Friday, June 29, 2012

looking at a waterfall spray rainbows --
showered by cold drops of water
from the sheer cliff face

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Awake! Some Aphorisms by Wei Wu Wei

During the late sixties, Master Wei Wu Wei (really a wealthy Irishman nobleman named Terence Gray who was mainly known for his experimental theater) set out to give a syncretic summary of Zen, Tao and Vedanta dwelling on their common Source. Wei Wu Wei speaks of perceiving, which is instantaneous, as almost always falsified by conceiving, which leads to concepts and "objects." By returning to naked perceiving, we rejoin our Source and resolve all conceptual problems. This is exactly the same point made by Master Huang-Po, but Wei Wu Wei used more "up to date" philosophical language.

Master Wei Wu Wei's aphorisms and short essays were widely published in small Buddhist magazines in the United States at a time before "Zen" became the marketing tool it is now. In any case, it's doubtful that Wei Wu Wei ever did "Zazen." He simply woke up -- it seems this happened one night when he was looking at the starry sky. He used Taoist, Vedanta, Tibetan and Zen terminology to elucidate this Enlightenment, but without ever choosing one over the other. Anyway, the Vedic Rishis already knew all about Consciousness manifesting AS "everything." "Buddhism" introduced nothing new in this.

"No difference exists between sentient beings and Buddhas, Samsara and Nirvana, delusion and bodhi. Drop all forms to wake up!" Huang Po, quoted by Wei Wu Wei.

THAT which seeks to conceive and to name the unmanifested source of manifestation is precisely THIS: it is itself what it seeks.

Without Here or There, Was or Will be, When or Why, Who or What, Suchness is Such.

We are the perceiving and conceiving which as perceptions conceived are then so-labelled as objects.

Do we exist or do we not exist? There has never been anyone either to exist or not to exist. Or "anyone" to answer such a question.

Don't call it "meditation" if it is not, but if it is -- don't do it!

Return every thing to its source, to which it belongs, and which it has never left! That is the practice of non-practice.

That which hearing is -- is beyond thought, mind and body. Surangama Sutra, quoted by Wei Wu Wei.

All judgements and "problems" vanish when split-mind is made whole.

I am it, it is I. How, then, can I "see" it? There is no object there: therefore there cannot be any subject here.

Sentient beings are not there at all as such, as the Buddha pointed out in the Diamond Sutra, so how can they wake up?

If you suppose that anything is NOT Prajna, let me hear what it is. - Master Ta-chu Hui Ha, quoted by Wei Wu Wei.

"I" am not conscious of anything: never. "Consciousness" as such is all that I am.

I am no thing.

Everything cognised is just what is called "mind,"
And what is called "mind" is just the cognising of everything.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Can Kensho be induced? Can Satori be brought on?

Certainly they can! Ch'an Masters' sly, sometimes wild behavior and the hair-raisingly intense Rinzai Koan practice are examples of one and the other.

But let's see first as Zen people to the iron-like stability of Seiza-sitting (Mokuso), and majestic grounding in "Samadhi" -- since Kensho and Satori come and go like a shooting star, a sunflower, a dewdrop, a lamp at night, a cloud in the autumn sky, a shattering galaxy.

"Who Done It?"

"What did you say?" "Who are they?" "Who is writing all this?" Well, who is reading it? Who is there to do, or to appear to do, the one or the other? Really, really, what a question! Who indeed! Why, no one, of course; who could there be? Surely that is evident, axiomatic, elementary? From the beginning there has never been a single "who," as Hui Neng approximately said; "who," utterly absent noumenally, is ubiquitous phenomenally.

Whoever asks the question, that is "who"?'

He is the seeker who is the sought, the sought who is the seeker.

He done it!

-Master Wei Wu Wei

Samadhi of the Indescribable

Satori is essential to Zen but it isn't the essence of Zen. What is?

Resting calmly and aware in the Samadhi of the Inconceivable and Indescribable is the essence of Zen.

In this Samadhi the mind rests in the Mind-Nature, becoming its own pure and infinite circle. Dark Brilliance!

The Light can't be seen -- it's just Lighting that sees.

You cannot say "This is it," or that it comes or goes, or that anything that appears in or by it really is or is not. Who is blind, who is deaf? Who is awake? Who is still asleep?

Stumbling to bed, feeling your way along the wall, the Buddha and Patriarchs blink your wide open but sightless eyes.

Objects don't exist. Beings don't exist. The Infinite takes care of its own Infinity. Sometimes it pretends finitude, to hide its own Lighting beneath a heap of shit.

Laugh and play. Shake the snow out of your hair and we'll build a snow Buddha!

Crows flying,
caw caw caw --
the summer dandelion fluff glitters like confetti

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Shivering in the snow,
Hui-K'o cut off his arm:
"Pacify my mind!"

Bodhidharma said,
"Give it here!
No, you can't find it?

The Eye of Kensho

If you don't have the eye of kensho, it is impossible for you to use a single drop of the Buddha's wisdom . . . That is why I say: if upon becoming a Buddhist monk you do not penetrate the Buddha's truth, you should turn in your black robe, give back all the donations you have received, and revert to being a layman.

Don't you realize that every syllable contained in the Buddhist canon -- all five thousand and forty-eight scrolls of scripture -- is a rocky cliff jutting into deadly, poison-filled seas? Don't you know that each of the twenty-eight Buddhas and six Buddhist saints is a body of virulent poison? It rises up in monstrous waves that blacken the skies, swallow the radiance of the sun and moon, and extinguishes the light of the stars and planets.

It is there as clear and stark as could be. It is staring you right in the face. But none of you is awake to see it. You are like owls that venture out into the light of day, their eyes wide open, yet they couldn't even see a mountain were it towering in front of them. The mountain doesn't have a grudge against owls that makes it want to hide. The fault is with the owls alone.

You might cover your ears with your hands. You might put a blindfold over your eyes. Try anything you can think of to avoid these poisonous fumes. But you can't escape the clouds sailing in the sky, the streams tumbling down the hillsides. You can't evade the falling autumn leaves or scattering spring flowers.

-Master Hakuin

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Shakyamuni Buddha recommended a path of Dhyana (Zen) plus Direct Inquiry and Analysis.

As Shakyamuni was dying he refused to name a lineage successor. Instead, he said the Dharma was his successor, and that students should "Be a light for yourselves, go all out, work hard, attain liberation."

THIS would seem to settle all questions about which lineage is the right one, which teaching is the right one.

No lineage!

As for teachings, the Dharma is not a teaching, it's just Reality as revealed by Dhyana (Zen) and Direct Inquiry and Analysis.

No Self, No Lasting Phenomena. Clinging to what doesn't exist or last causes anguish. Releasing oneself from such clinging is Cessation of Anguish (Nirvana)!

What's the problem? This is simple. Anyone can do it. Ambitious people are at a disadvantage.

"Delightful is the Dharma. Delightful in the beginning, delightful in the middle, delightful at the end."

Let's do it! What fucking horseshit all the arguments and disputes are. If you're truly pursuing Dhyana plus Direct Inquiry you have no time for throwing your intellectual weight around or playing "Buddhist" games.

Aum Swasti!

"Ah!": Is the Non-Dual Free of Duality? Is Right View Different Than Wrong View?

(This is my response to a person I recently met on an online "chat board" devoted to Buddhism who claimed that Hakuin's "meditation-in-ACTION" is still dualistic, and that it is extremely important to proceed from the spontaneous "non-dual awareness" of satori to a fully understood "right view" of "Emptiness." Or, in a nutshell, that Zen isn't enough -- one must also study Madhyamaka-Prasangkika.)

Actually Hakuin's "meditation-in-ACTION" is not dualistic -- or rather, if it is dualistic it is just the inescapable Duality of the Non-Dual. I believe Hakuin-Zenji embodied what he meant on a poem-scroll where he describes pretty young girls returning from the tea fields with dirty feet and baskets of tea leaves, talking about getting a handsome husband. That's it! What else do you want?

(Note that by relying on my memory from seeing this scroll in the San Francisco Asian Art Museum I actually got the poem wrong. Either that, or it was translated differently. In any case, I spent my time gazing at the Enso itself and didn't pay much attention to the translation of the verses. As I found the poem on the Web, it actually goes like this:

Hammamatsu of Enshu
is a tea-growing district.
I want to marry off
my daughter there,
to pick fine tea leaves.

It's interesting how my mind turned it around so that for me the poem was about laughing young girls with dirty feet and baskets of tea leaves talking about wanting a husband!)

For Hakuin this scene in the tea-growing district was itself Realization, and there was nothing more to do about it, nothing to add or take away-- no "right view" or "wrong view."

Is gathering tea leaves right? Is getting a handsome husband wrong? Is the laughter of the girls right, wrong, both right and wrong, or neither right nor wrong?

Here we simply have Reality freed of fixation by labels.

Hakuin described his Great Satori thus: "The rhinoceros of Doubt fell over dead. It was just like looking at the palm of my hand, knowing it was the palm of my hand."

What is this kind of Great Knowing? Maybe it's even more wrong than right -- the inherent, confusing, demonic all-wrongness of Dualism as the free expression of Absolute Subjectivity, which can't be pinned down.

In comparison to That, emptiness has the color of dust. It's not even empty!

HOWEVER, my point was somewhat different than this. It's merely that after breakthrough to the non-dual one needn't stagnate in passivity nor study and develop a "right view."

One can instead throw oneself into the maw of this life of battles and miracles with refreshed energy, intensity and resolve, like the samurai general who resolved Joshu's "Mu" and then, having conquered all his fears of death, like a ferocious tiger drove the Mongol invasion out of Japan.

Tiger-like samurai generals solving "Mu" before going into battle, laughing girls with dirty feet coming home with baskets of tea leaves -- AH! This universe even at its strangest and most appalling is simply brilliant, resounding, awesome, lucid and wonderful. Lazarus laughs, cherry blossoms fly between cold raindrops, mountains respond to the temple bell in the darkness, and all the teachers fall over dead.

Friday, June 8, 2012

if your mind goes here
it can't go there
let it go
don't cling to anywhere
not falling down
falling in
rough wind
& among the cold raindrops
fir blossoms