Sunday, December 26, 2010

Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth. --- Archimedes

Ordinarily, unnoticed in our perceiving and thinking is the assumption that "we" are truly standing "somewhere" apart from the "objects" of this perceiving and conceiving.

Assuming this supposed point of view has been called
'the dream[ing] of an objective universe.'

"Awakeness" is "actual immediacy."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

this dualistic world

There is nothing perfectly simple in this world.

Everything is doomed to final decomposition.

It seems to exist as a unit, to be itself, but there is nothing there
that cannot be reduced to its component parts.

It is sure to be dispersed.

--- D. T. Suzuki

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mind is never truly divided

Only let not your insight be interrupted
through all the periods of time,

and you will be at peace with whatever situation you come into.

--- Lin-chi

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the One Mind


Mind has no form
and penetrates every corner of the universe.

In the eye it sees,

in the ear it hears,

in the nose it smells,

in the mouth it talks,

in the hand it seizes,

in the leg it runs.

That which is most unmistakably perceivable
right before your eyes,
though without form, yet absolutely identifiable---

this is what understands the discourse and listens to it.

--- Lin-chi

Monday, December 13, 2010

"pure subjectivity" is "pure objectivity"

"To escape" or "to be disengaged" or any[thing] implying the idea of keeping oneself away from a world of becoming, is altogether inadequate to express the Zen way of achieving "salvation." Even "salvation" is a poor term, because Zen recognizes nothing from which we are to be saved. We are from the first already "saved" in all reality, and it is due to our ignorance that we talk about being saved, or freed. Zen knows no traps or complexities from which we are to escape. The traps or complexities are our own creation.

Zen, therefore, does not try to disengage us from the world, to make us mere spectators of the hurly-burly we see around us. Zen is right in the midst of the ocean of becoming. It shows no desire to escape from its tossing waves. It does not treat Nature as if it were an enemy to be conquered, nor does it stand away from Nature. Indeed it is Nature itself. For "pure subjectivity" is no other than "pure objectivity." Our inner life is complete when it merges into Nature and becomes one with it.

--- D. T. Suzuki


An officer once visited Gensha and asked, "They speak of our not knowing it while using it all the time. What is this 'it'?"

Gensha looked as if he were not paying attention to the questioner, for he innocently picked up a piece of cake and offered it to the officer to eat.

The latter finished it and repeated the question.

The master said, "There you are ! It is daily made use of and yet you know it not."

--- D. T. Suzuki

Prajna is the law of identity

The eye cannot see itself; to do this a mirror is needed, but what it sees is not itself, only its reflection. Vijnana may devise some means to recognize itself, but the recognition turns out to be conceptual, as something postulated.

Prajna, however, is the eye that can turn itself within and see itself, because it is the law of identity itself. It is due to Prajna that subject and object become identifiable, and this is done without mediation of any kind.

Vijnana always needs mediation as it moves on from one concept to another---this is in the very nature of Vijnana. But Prajna, being the law of identity itself, demands no transferring from subject to object.

--- D. T. Suzuki

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"pure" seeing

Juten, the master, once asked a monk, "Where do you come from?

The monk answered, "I come from a monastery on the western side of the river where Kwannon is enshrined."

The master said, "Did you see Kwannon?"

"Yes I did."

"Did you see it on the right side or the left side?"

The monk replied, "When seeing there is neither right nor left."

In a mondo like this, one can readily see that the question at issue is not Kwannon, which is used merely as a symbol for ultimate reality; and the seeing of it means Prajna-intuition. There is no differentiation in it of right and left; it is complete in itself; it is a unity in itself; it is "pure" seeing.

This monk apparently understood what Prajna-intuition was, and this form of question on the part of the master is known as a "trial" question.

---from "Studies in Zen" by D.T. Suzuki

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Prajna is the fundamental noetic principle whereby an apprehension of the whole becomes possible.

Prajna is a unifying principle. It does this not by going over each individual unit as belonging to an integrated whole, but by apprehending the latter at one glance, as it were. While the whole is thus apprehended, the parts do not escape from entering into this vision by Prajna. [Even the smallest] parts are united in the whole to become significant, and this unification is the doing of Prajna-intuition.

--- D.T. Suzuki

Friday, December 10, 2010


...the idea of an all-permeating God in the world of plurality is the work of postulation. Prajna-intuition precludes this. No distinction is allowed here between the one and the many, the whole and the parts. When a blade of grass is lifted the whole universe is revealed there; in every pore of the skin there pulsates the life of the triple world, and this is intuited by Prajna, not by way of reasoning but "immediately." The characteristic of Prajna is this immediacy.

--- from "Studies in Zen" by D.T. Suzuki

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the I is Reality

The eye that sees, the ear that hears, the tongue that tastes
are only apparatus,

but the I that sees, hears, and tastes is Reality.

--- Wei Wu Wei

all (nothing) at once

We have two eyes to see two sides of things,

but there must be a third eye which will see

everything at the same time and yet not see anything.

--- D.T. Suzuki

Thursday, December 2, 2010

totality and viability

It need not be specially mentioned that the Unborn is brought into actuality by means of the instinctive or unconscious reaction to sense-stimuli and their psychological complications; but the main point is that all these conscious and unconscious activities on the part of each individual are gathered up by the basic notion of "I am" or "I exist."

Descartes' dictum, "I think, therefore I am," will be, according to Bankei, "I feel (or perceive), therefore I am," and when this "am" is apprehended in its deepest sense we have the Unborn.

Descartes' "am" is epistemological and therefore dualistic and has not yet touched the rock-bed of existence, the source of all things.

The "I am" must preserve its totality and viability if we are to come to the idea of the Unborn.

---D. T. Suzuki

the Unborn for Bankei was not a static concept

The Unborn was the content of Bankei's satori which sprang up from his whole being, and enveloped it, so that he felt as if he were living in and with the Unborn all the time. The Unborn with him, therefore, was not a static conception. He did not intuit it spatially but temporally; he lived it, and while living he knew he was it---which is satori.

---from "Living by Zen" by D.T. Suzuki

the Unborn

What every one of you has got from your parents in no other than the Buddha-mind, and this mind has never been born and is full of wisdom and illumination. As it is never born, it never dies...and by this unborn Buddha-mind all things are perfectly well managed.

When you were coming this way to hear my sermon, or as you are actually listening to it, suppose you hear a bell or a crow. You at once recognize that the bell is ringing or the crow is crying, and you do not make any mistake. It is the same with your seeing: you pay no attention to a certain thing, but when you see it you at once know what it is.

It is the Unborn in you that is performing all these miracles, and as long as you are all like that, you cannot deny the Unborn, which is the Buddha-mind, bright and illuminating.

--- Bankei