do not give birth to a single thought



do not give birth

to a single thought: let go

and become crystal clear. As soon

as any notions of right and wrong and self

and other and gain and loss are present,

do not follow them off. Then you

will be personally studying

with your own true






i don’t know


Emperor Wu

of Liang asked Bodhidharma,

“I have built temples and had monks

ordained without number: what merit is there

in this?” Bodhidharma said, “There is no merit.”

The emperor said, “Why no merit?” Bodhidharma

said, “These are just the lesser fruits of gods

and men, causes of defilement: like

shadows following shapes,

though they’re there,

they’re not



The Emperor

said, “What is true merit?”

Bodhidharma answered, “The subtle

perfection of pure wisdom, its essence naturally

empty and still. Such merit is not to be sought with worldly

means.” Only then did the Emperor ask, “What is the

highest meaning of the holy truths?” Bodhidharma

answered, “Empty, without holiness.”

The Emperor said, “Who is facing

me?” Bodhidharma replied,

“I don’t know.”


The Emperor

did not understand, so

Bodhidharma crossed the river

into Wei. If you want to see real merit

right now, don’t look for it anywhere else,

just comprehend it in “I don’t know”.

If you can penetrate those three

words, the task of your whole

life’s study will be





don’t linger on thoughts



today concentrate

on the quest to have no thoughts but

find that their thoughts ultimately cannot be

annihilated. Just don’t linger on the preceding thought,

don’t greet the following thought; if you can just use

the present adaptation to circumstances to

break through, you will naturally enter

nothingness in a gradual



Huanchu Daoren

Vegetable Roots Discourse


work toward emptiness and openness


Work toward 

emptiness and openness. 

Cultivate stillness. Breathe harmony. 

Become tranquility. As the ten

thousand things rise and fall,

rise and fall, just witness

their return to the




that flourishes dissolves

again into the source. To dissolve

back into the source is to find peace. 

To find peace is to recover your true nature. 

To recover your true nature is to know the constancy

of Tao. To know the constancy of Tao is insight. Insight

opens your mind. An open mind leads to an open

heart. Open heartedness leads to justice. 

Justice is an expression of divinity. 

Divinity is oneness with




with Tao is freedom

from harm, indescribable

pleasure, eternal



from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 16


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