free of excited joy and anxiety

the mysterious principle


“The people of old said, ‘The mind changes in accord with ten thousand objects. And what is strange about this change?’ You should allow this change to happen in order to recognize your true nature. Once recognized, you will be free of excited joy and anxiety.

“This wonderful function that is happening in this present moment – who is performing it? Take hold of that and use it, and do not be caught in words. This is called the mysterious principle. Whoever has this insight is no longer obstructed by an obstacle.”

My Comment: When you allow this change to happen, you refrain from engaging with the chimera-realm of illusory forms. Only then does the monkey let go of one branch without grasping for the next. In this way abeyance happens. Allowing the wonderful function to occur without grasping, idea-making, naming or word-speaking is to look deeply at objects of perception. Then it is the openness for “Behold, it is I!” and “Who is performing this wonderful function now?” Continue reading

if Earth and heaven turned upside down

I hope my readers will enjoy this text from The Records of Master Linji as much as I do.

how to live alone in freedom

“A true practitioner does not grasp Buddha, bodhisattva, or arhat. He does not grasp at what is called most beautiful and good in the three realms. He knows how to live alone in freedom. He is not constrained by anything. Even if Earth and heaven were turned upside down I should not be obstructed by any feeling of doubt. Even if the Buddhas in the Ten Directions were to appear before my eyes I should not give rise to any feeling of delight. Even if the hell realms and the three unwholesome destinies were to appear before my eyes I should not give rise to feelings of fear.

“Why is that? Continue reading


environmental art by Andy Goldsworthy

It is not dependent on anything.

That is why you can practice having nothing to do. That is why you are free. That is why you can enter the perfect land in an instant. That is why one man came through the concentration camp ordeal of the Nazis untouched in his awareness of his perfect spiritual self. That is why it is said that the man Jesus, upon becoming aware of his Christ self, voluntarily went through the physical ordeal to his painful death in order to demonstrate the illusion of this ‘solid’ realm. That is why we are free now and the dependence we feel is of our own making, because we have the power to feel dependent and powerless – whether out of ignorance or design, it matters not. Continue reading

live your lives in a very natural way – zen


From The Record of Master Linji

Linji Bright Clarity pin

Dear Friends,

The first part of this article consists of some short passages from a text by the Zen master Linji with my comments. The second part is Linji’s complete text of #11 in The Records of Master Linji. The passages that I comment on are the ones that caught my attention most strongly. Of course, as with any text from the sages, there are many pearls to be found throughout the text. My intention is to make this text more accessible for those readers who may not know of Linji.
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the good spiritual friend

The True Person and the good spiritual friend is that within me that hears everything and perceives all that I do without engaging. It is unstruck, >>anahata<<, the unstruck one. That is why from that place I will never strike, >>ahimsa<<. While birth, dwelling, changing and destruction happen, I remain as the True Person. The good spiritual friend is always at my side. He is my own true being, my Self.

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just be ordinary… Zen Master Linji

“Be sovereign wherever you are

and use that place as your seat of awakening”.

Master Linji

Zen: Be sovereign...: ::

“As I see it, there isn’t much to do. Just be ordinary – put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing.”

Master Linji, Teaching 18


Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go

“Many of us have spent our whole lives learning, questioning, and searching.

” But even on the path of enlightenment, if all we do is study, we’re wasting our time and that of our teacher. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t study; study and practice help each other. But what’s important is not the goal we’re seeking—even if that goal is enlightenment—but living each moment of our daily life truly and fully. Continue reading

Zen: Patience and Study

This is the page I contemplated this morning in my Driftwood Studio. It has to do with enlightenment being something that happens suddenly, from one moment to the next and yet many of us study with great patience. Master Linji gives us the sense that this study and this patience are part of enlightenment, not really “preparation FOR” enlightenment. The words of the sutras or of any text that inspires us are enjoyable and that is why we read and contemplate them. Enjoy this short text of Thich Nhat Hanh speaking of the teachings of Linji:
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Living As Buddha


“Master Linji tells us … If we search for something outside ourselves, we will never find it. The things we are looking for aren’t in these places. This message appears frequently in Master Linji’s teachings, but it is especially clear here. If we search for something outside ourselves, we will never find it. We have, within us, all the seeds of Buddhahood. The Buddha and the masters don’t belong to the past, the future, or another place. They are here with us in the present moment.
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