Nyogen Senzaki

‘Buddhist realism explains very well that the noumenon is the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is the noumenon, but to actualize what reality is, one has to pass the gateless gate. The reality is called Buddha, but the name is only a shadow, not the essence. In pointing to the esoteric or inner teaching, therefore, Nansen could only say, “It is not mind; it is not Buddha; it is not things.” If you add a word to Nansen’s answer, you spoil his Zen. If you take a word from the answer, you break the completeness of his Zen. Just enter into the realm of golden silence through this gate of no-thing. When you emerge from your samadhi, you see everything, and you may say,  “Masters preached this, and nothing else. It is mind, it is Buddha, and it is all things.”‘ (Eloquent Silence)

I have a real soft spot for Nyogen Senzaki; like Sokei-An, and later, Suzuki Roshi, he brings forth the fullness of zen understanding to a generation of Americans for whom it was a complete novelty, using straightforward language that should not deceive anyone into thinking it was not a complete expression. This is a part of his commentary on yesterday’s case from the Mumon Kan, The Gateless Gate.

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