pure state between existence and non-existence


“when mind is void matter is alright”

Han Shan


My Comment:

This statement: “the eternal Self, the light of lights which lies between the two ideas of existence and non-existence”, asks us to focus on that very subtle sense of the substratum of all existence AND, it states further, the substratum also of non-existence. For most of us to have a felt-sense of ‘non-existence’ is very unusual, to say the least, and sounds to our mind like a strong paradox. How am I to have a felt-sense of anything ‘outside of’ that which is part of that WHICH IS, which we call ‘existence’?
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we are the embodiment of truth

breathing and freedom

“So it is absolutely necessary for everyone to believe in nothing. But I do not mean voidness. There is something, but that something is something which is always prepared for taking some particular form, and it has some rules, or theory, or truth in its activity. This is called Buddha nature, or Buddha himself. When this existence is personified we call it Buddha; when we understand it as the ultimate truth we call it Dharma; and when we accept the truth and act as a part of the Buddha, or according to the theory, we call ourselves Sangha. But even though there are three Buddha forms, it is one existence which has no form or color, and it is always ready to take form and color. This is not just theory.

“This is not just the teaching of Buddhism. This is the absolutely necessary understanding of our life. Without this understanding our religion will not help us. We will be bound by our religion, and we will have more trouble because of it. If you become the victim of Buddhism, I may be very happy, but you will not be so happy. So this kind of understanding is very, very important.

“While you are practicing zazen, you may hear the rain dropping from the roof in the dark. Later, the wonderful mist will be coming through the big trees, and still later when people start to work, they will see the beautiful mountains.

“But some people will be annoyed if they hear the rain when they are lying in their beds in the morning, because they do not know that later they will see the beautiful sun rising from the east. If our mind is concentrated on ourselves we will have this kind of worry. But if we accept ourselves as the embodiment of the truth, or Buddha nature, we will have no worry. We will think, ‘Now it is raining, but we don’t know what will happen in the next moment. By the time we go out it may be a beautiful day, or a stormy day.  Since we don’t know, let’s appreciate the sound of the rain now.’

“This kind of attitude is the right attitude. If you understand yourself as a temporal embodiment of the truth, you will have no difficulty whatsoever. You will appreciate your surroundings, and you will appreciate yourself as a wonderful part of Buddha’s great activity, even in the midst of difficulties. This is our way of life.”

Source: Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, p. 117, 118

My Comment:

Whatever concept we like that allows our mind to open up to the great mystery of that universal force which goes into form moment by moment in an infinitely intelligent way, is useful. Trust, faith, total functioning, adamantine particles, law of attraction, divine providence, etc. – all are equal. To see myself as Buddha nature that out of nothingness continues to arise as form as needed in each moment – this appeals to me today.


Related Article: freedom and concentration – Shunryu Suzuki





perfect composure: zen



There is a universal force which goes into form moment by moment in an infinitely intelligent way, in perfect concert with all phenomena of existence as well as all levels of non-phenomenal existence. Whatever concepts appeal to us and which allow our mind to open up to the great mystery of this universal force, are, in my opinion, useful. Trust, faith, total functioning, implicate order, the impulse of evolution, adamantine particles, law of attraction, reincarnation and soul evolution, divine providence, the Buddha Mind, no-mind, higher Self – all are, in this sense, equally valid. Today it appeals to me to see myself as Buddha nature arising into form in each moment exactly as is called for so that my form joins in harmony with the cosmic symphony. Continue reading


This post contains two and a half pages from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki. In this short chapter Shunryu gives us a sense of what the Buddhist term “Nothing” means. I find this term very similar to the view in quantum physics of the Field or the Plenum. For David Bohm, one of the leading quantum physicists of our age, the Plenum is an “immense background of energy”.

(At the bottom you will find the YouTube video of Peter Coyote reading this chapter.)

Shunryu Suzuki-roshi:

I discovered that it is necessary, absolutely necessary, to believe in nothing. That is, we have to believe in something which has no form and no color—something which exists before all forms and colors appear. This is a very important point. No matter what god or doctrine you believe in, if you become attached to it, your belief will be based more or less on a self-centered idea. You strive for a perfect faith in order to save yourself. But it will take time to attain such a perfect faith. You will be involved in an idealistic practice.
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Zen: CO N T R O L

This post contains a little over two pages from the book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki.

At the bottom you will find the YouTube video of Peter Coyote reading this chapter.

“To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him.”

To live in the realm of Buddha nature means to die as a small being, moment after moment. When we lose our balance we die, but at the same time we also develop ourselves, we grow. Whatever we see is changing, losing its balance. The reason everything looks beautiful is because it is out of balance, but its background is always in perfect harmony. Continue reading