"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zen . . . No-Zen . . . Zen

"Zen is consciousness unstructured by particular form or particular system," writes Thomas Merton, "a trans-cultural, trans-religious, transformed consciousness. It is therefore in a sense "void." But it can shine through this or that system, religious or irreligious, just as light can shine through glass that is blue, or green, or red, or yellow. If Zen has any preference it is for glass that is plain, has no color, and is "just glass.""

[Thomas Merton, "Thoughts On The East," p. 34.]

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.

-- Jallaludin Rumi --

[Coleman Banks, "The Essential Rumi," p. 32]

"Zen insight," Merton points out, "is at once a liberation from the limitations of the individual's ego, and a discovery of one's "original nature" and "true face" in "mind" which is no longer restricted to the empirical self but is in all and above all."

"Zen insight" he notes, "is not our awareness, but Being's awareness of itself in us."

[Thomas Merton, "Thoughts On The East," p. 32.]

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