Suzuki’s ground

Usually we are not interested in the nothingness of the ground. Our tendency is to be interested in something that is growing in the garden, not in the bare soil itself. But if you want to have a good harvest the most important thing is to make the soil rich and to cultivate it well.

The Buddha’s teaching is not about the food itself but about how it is grown, and how to take care of it. Buddha was not interested in a special deity or in something that was already there; he was interested in the ground from which various gardens will appear. For him, everything was holy.

Buddha was great because his understanding of people was good. Because he understood people he loved them, and he enjoyed helping them. Because he had that kind of spirit, he could be a Buddha.

Suzuki, Shunryu: Not always so;
practicing the True Spirit of Zen. New York 2002, p. 48


Buddha’s non-thinking

[Buddha said:] In the transparent lucidity of the original nature of thought, in the perfect purity of its original nature, no genesis of a thought takes place. Where there is an objective support, there the foolish common people produce a thought.

The bodhisattva, however, wisely considers the objective support, as well as the genesis of thought, and asks himself wherefrom the thought is produced. Bearing in mind that “this thought is translucent in its original nature”, he thinks to himself, “this thought is being produced conditioned by an objective support”.

Once he has comprehended the function of the objective support, he does not produce a thought or stop it. And so that thought of his becomes translucent, undefiled, beautiful, perfectly pure. Established in nonproduction, that thought does not produce or stop any dharma.

This is of the bodhisattva, who courses in the perfection of wisdom, the comprehension of the non-production of thought.

Conze, Edward: The short Prajnaparamita Texts.
London 1973, p. 53-54


Shibayama roshi

Dharma teaching from Zenkei Shibayama roshi.

A Zen master said in his teisho [dharma-talk]: “Whenever it may be, wherever you may be, your mind is at peace, because there’s no mind outside your body; because there’s no body outside your mind. Since your body and mind have already dropped away, what is there to be pacified or not pacified? How wonderful is this mind that is always just at peace!”
Let me add my words here. It is said, “However wonderful a thing it may be, it is better not to have it at all!” A Zen man ought not to be easily self-satisfied.

Shibayama, Zenkei: The gateless barrier;
Zen comments on the Mumonkan. New York 1974, p. 290


Huang Bo

Huangbo said to the assembly, “You people are all slurpers of dregs. If you travel like this, where will you have today? Do you know that in all of China there are no teachers of Chan?”

At that point a monk came forward and said, “What about those who guide followers and lead groups in various places?”

Huangbo said, “I don’t say there’s no Chan, just that there are no teachers.”

Cleary, Thomas: The book of serenity.
Hudson 1990, p. 223.