Nyogen Senzaki

‘Some of you coming to this meditation class for the first time may think we are attempting an achievement – advancing toward becoming buddhas. Christians gather at a prayer meeting and believe that their purification is more advanced than it was at their last meeting. Islamists count every bow as a stepping-stone toward Mecca. If our new friends think that we are burning incense and meditating here to accumulate meritorious deeds, the way passengers on San Francisco streetcars pay two cents for each transfer, I appreciate the compliment, but our master of this evening, the great Obaku, will deny it. He calls such an idea “wrong imagination”, and warns of deviating from the right path. Perhaps his Zen is too strong this evening. Let me add some water to it, and offer you another cup.’ (Eloquent Silence)

I have commented before on my appreciation for Nyogen Senzaki’s gentle approach to his audience – in this case studying Obaku. If you do not know his dates, the streetcar fare mentioned should clue you in to how long ago this was.

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