‘A monk asked, “What is the transcendant matter?”
Tongan said, “Pivoting but not changing position. Any special sign is bad.”‘ (Zen’s Chinese Heritage)



With no-mind the flower invites the butterfly,
With no-mind the butterfly reaches the flower.
The flower doesn’t know,
Neither does the butterfly.
Not knowing, no knowing –
Fulfilling the law of the universe.

A monarch and a dahlia amply demonstrating the poem at Green Gulch recently.

Suzuki Roshi

‘If you think zazen is some particular thing you are doing right here, you are quite mistaken. Practice is each moment every day all year long; over and over we repeat our activity. Our practice is like 10,000 miles of iron road. We run on iron tracks in a straight line, never stopping. The tracks are iron, not gold or silver. There is no special way for sages and another for fools; both are the same train. There is no special person for Buddhism, Buddhism is for everyone; there is no special activity of sitting for Buddhists–everything you do should be practice.’

This passage is not from one of Suzuki Roshi’s published books, but from the collected transcripts of his talks, in this case, a summary of what he had spoken of during a sesshin in 1964.

Toni Packer

‘Can the inner noise be entirely left alone while attending? When the changing states of body-mind are simply left to themselves without any choice or judgment – left unreacted to by a controlling or repressive will – a new quietness emerges by itself.’ (The Work of This Moment)

These words, delivered on the subject of silent retreat, echo Chan Master Sheng Yen’s from the other day.


‘A monk asked, “What is Joshu’s one word?”
Joshu replied, “There is not even half a word.”
The monk said, “Can it be that you have none?”
Joshu said, “I am not one word.” (The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu)

So what is Joshu?

Sekito Kisen

‘A monk asked, “What was Master Bodhidharma’s intention in coming from the west to China?”
Sekito said, “Ask the pillars outside.”
The monk said, “I cannot understand your answer at all.”
Sekito said, “I am also unable to understand the situation if I think about it.”‘ (Shinji Shobogenzo)