I always wondered why there didn’t seem to be many books on Zen. Because I thought it was something I really needed to know about, or understand. This great, powerfully mysterious thing that seems even more intriguing because it keeps its secrets.
But I’m realising that Zen is a ‘way’ that motivates against he accumulation of knowledge and cultivation of the intellect. Giving it a name even, is failing to get it.
One of the main Zen ‘patriarchs’ back in ancient times, Hui Neng, was actually illiterate and understood it all intuitively.
And then you hear about the Flower Sermon, where the Buddha just held up a flower instead of saying anything. And only one person got it. And he was the person chosen to carry on the Buddha’s teaching.
And Thich Nhat Hahn, who is so popular – his whole thing is Zen, but he doesn’t go on about it. He hardly mentions the word. I think he knows it’s a trap.
The whole thing seems to be like a kind of dance, the avoidance of the intellect, trusting the emptiness of just being. Or being emptiness (or whatever!)
And this all relates to the internal drama with which I seem to be entertaining myself at the moment: “Am I qualified to sit in a room with people and help them to relax?”. Cos all the teachers like to be so qualified these days, with their intimidating mindfulness qualifications. That whole ‘expert’ thing is a massive obstacle.
As long as I can keep a distance from that thought, then I know I’m in the right place. Staying with the soft, innocent clarity of ‘beginner’s mind’ and ‘don’t know mind’. To just be, and hold that space of just being, and say what comes out. And not be fooled or bullied by words and concepts.