‘Monks, if you get into hollow discussions, your mind will be scattered. Then, you will be unable to attain liberation even if you have left the household. So, you should immediately leave behind a scattered mind and hollow discussions. If you wish to attain the joy of serenity, you need to cure the sickness of hollow discussions. This is called “not to be engaged in hollow discussions.”‘
We’re getting to that time of year when Buddha’s Parinirvana is commemorated – usually with a moving reading from his last teachings. I came to this particular admonition while flicking through the Shobogenzo, as one of Dogen’s last dated fascicles is largely a retread of the eight awakenings Buddha preached before his death. It struck me as amazing foresight, twenty-five hundred years before Twitter. But then, there have always been hollow discussions.