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Beyond appreciating truth
by reading texts,
realise truth
by facing reality too.

– Stonepeace | Books

book292Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”

Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry. “If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”

TDEditor: Minds, Buddhas and sentient beings only do not exist in terms of being empty of fixed mental and physical characteristics. Although forms and dualistic concepts are empty of unchanging mind and matter, just as form is emptiness, emptiness is form too.

It is one thing to show off theoretical understanding of the Dharma, and an entire thing altogether, to realise and apply what was understood practically. Yamaoka, while boasting of his clinging to emptiness, obviously still clung to form (body or matter) and ego (unenlightened mind), as demonstrated through the sudden wake-up call, which was a direct reality check.

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Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
Paul Reps

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