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#3137 - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

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    I have selected an excerpt from the following article. It is located at I discovered the link at  

Zen Talks and Poems

By (1876-1958)

“Strangers to this Zendo usually are unable to see anything more than its atmosphere of quietness," said Nyogen Senzaki. "The vastness lying beyond can only be detected by those who know what real Zen practice is all about.”


I have been asked to explain what realization is, but if it could be explained it would not be realization. While you are kneading the dough of your thoughts, you cannot enjoy the bread of realization.
Confucius said:

My friends, do you think I was hiding it from you?
No! I would never do such a thing!
It was only that you were unable to see it.

Walking through the forest of many thoughts, just keep on walking until you find yourself cornered in a place that admits neither of advance nor retreat. Here your knowledge will be of no avail. Even your religion will be unable to rescue you. If you are really eager to enter realization, just go straight ahead, holding tenaciously to the question “What is realization?” March on bravely! Surrounded by enemies, use your own sword; in the center of the battlefield, carve out a way for yourself. There will come a time when all of a sudden you will lose hold of your sword and at that moment—behold! You will have gained your true self.
“All sacred books are like poor candles to the sun,” said Kosen, comparing them to his own realization. Jakushitsu once said:

Didn’t I tell you it was there?
You could have found it without any trouble at all.
The south wind is warm;
The sun shines peacefully;
The birds warble their glad songs.
Spring blossoms in every treetop.

Zen is not a puzzle; it cannot be solved by wit. It is a spiritual food for those who want to learn what life is and what our mission is in this world. Mere scholarly pursuits will never lead to realization. Zen is not so much a religion as it is the essence of life itself, the naked truth of the universe, which is none other than the experience of Mind.
He who feels uneasy in his inner life can come to Zen and find clear understanding and real joy. Zen does not propagandize. There is no need. All will come, sooner or later. Some will come from the literary class, along with some deep thinkers. Sorrow and struggle may lead others to Zen. But however you come, however you are led to Zen, you must come with a clear conscience and a pure heart. You must come with a desperate desire to see life as it really is; and must not permit anything to keep you from this, no matter how many blind alleys of religious creeds you may have stumbled into in the past.
You may read all the books in all the libraries in the world; you may write thousands upon thousands of pages of your own thoughts. But if your mind is not thoroughly clear; if your knowledge does not come from the real source—you will never know who you are, you will remain forever a stranger to your true self.

Early in the morning
In the western sky,
One star blinks at me.
I love its green light.

My friends, do you say
You could not sleep last night?
The heat of this late summer bothered you;
You could not find any cooler place.
Why did Bodhidharma come to China?
The question, I know, also bothered you.
Wait until the evening sun colors the mountains
With its gentle ray.
You get more than coolness at that moment.
You meet the blue-eyed monk face to face.
        (October 7, 1951; Commemoration of Bodhidharma)
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