wind up unburdened, as you were before

josef kote


The essence of awareness,

complete and clear, is a formless body.

Don’t mistake far and near based on intellectual opinion.

When thoughts differ, you’re blind to the substance

of the mysteries. When mind diverges,

you’re not neighbor to

the Way.


When subjectively

discriminating myriad things,

you get submerged in the objects before you.

When conscious awareness is fragmented,

you lose the basic reality.


If you understand

such expressions with complete

clarity, you’ll wind up unburdened,

as you were before.




how can it be taken by force?

one robe, one bowl

Having left the Fifth Ancestral Teacher’s place, Hui Neng traveled south for two months, and had reached the Ta Yu Range. He was pursued by the monk Hui Ming, who was originally a general, accompanied by several hundred men, who wanted to seize the robe and bowl (emblematic of succession to the ancestral teachers).

Ming was the first to overtake him. The Sixth Ancestral Teacher threw down the robe and bowl on a rock and said, “This robe signifies faith: how can it be taken by force?” Ming tried to pick up the robe and bowl, but was unable to move them. At that point he said, “I have come for the Dharma, not for the robe.”

The Ancestral Teacher said, “Since you’ve come for the Dharma, you should put to rest all your motivations, and don’t give rise to a single thought, and I will explain for you.” After a silence, he said, “Without thinking of good, and without thinking of evil, at just such a time, which is your original face?”

At these words, Hui Ming was greatly enlightened. He also asked, “Besides the intimate words and meaning that struck home a moment ago, is there any further intimate message?”

The ancestral teacher said, “If it were said to you, it wouldn’t be intimate. If you turn around and reflect, what’s intimate is in you.”



i don’t know



the ultimate path is not one-sided

acey harper


The Ultimate Path is not

one-sided, the Final Truth is not biased.

We must not seize upon the views of just one

of these approaches. We must understand

them as one and make them all

perfect and wondrous.


In essence,

if you are confined to one

of them, they are all wrong; if you

reconcile them, they are all correct.

Forget sentiments and return

to the ocean of


Records of the Teachers and Students of the Lanka

full text here


a time for disengagement and retreat

just be still


This is a time for

disengagement and retreat.

In stillness you are out

of the reach of



It is inherent in the design of life that forces of darkness and disruption come into prominence from time to time. This hexagram indicates that this is such a time and advises you to respond by quietly retreating. To struggle or resist in anger now is to add fuel to the fire of negativity which threatens to consume you.

The superior person accepts that there is a natural ebb and flow between the forces of light and dark in the world. Wisdom lies not in resisting these movements but in responding to them appropriately. Just as a plant which sprouts in the dead of winter is doomed, and one which sprouts in spring flourishes, so it is with us. Success and prosperity accrue to those who advance in times of light and retreat in times of darkness. To retreat now is to benefit, in the end, from the changing tides.

Retreat is not the same thing as surrender, capitulation, or abandonment, which are desperate and unsatisfying measures. Neither is it characterized by a hardening into angry or punitive emotions. It is instead an acceptance and a choice: we calmly accept that the energies of the moment are against us, and we wisely choose to withdraw into the safety of stillness. In this dignified and balanced manner we protect ourselves from negative influences and arrive rested in a more beneficial hour.

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 33, Tun / Retreat


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like phrases written on water

After offering a convincing response when Kaso later challenged the validity of his awakening, Ikkyu went on to admit that he had practiced for a decade “seething with anger” only to find that as the raucous cawing of a crow shattered the evening’s silence “an enlightened disciple of the Buddha suddenly surfaced” from within the mud of his emotional torment.

Ikkyu continued practicing under Kaso for another four years, earning the deep respect of his master as well as a reputation for eccentricity. According to a biography completed by Ikkyu’s disciples not long after his death, when Kaso offered Ikkyu a “seal” of his enlightenment (inka) — a document essential for anyone seeking advancement in the Rinzai hierarchy — Ikkyu refused to accept it. Later discovering that Kaso had given the document to a laywoman for safekeeping, Ikkyu took possession of the inka, tore it to shreds, and asked his disciples to burn it. 

On another occasion, when Kaso was hosting a memorial ceremony for his own master, Ikkyu spurned the custom of wearing ceremonial raiment and showed up in patched robes and grass sandals, drawing the considerable ire of the rest of the community. Questioned by Kaso about his behavior, Ikkyu said that he was dressed simply, as a monk should be, while everyone else was prancing about in sumptuous “shit covers”. At the end of the service, when Kaso who was asked who would be his Dharma successor, he reportedly surveyed the gathering and said, perhaps with some reluctance, “the crazy one”.

…Ikkyu had devoted himself to Kaso precisely because he carried the torch of Daito’s personification of a “true person of no rank” — a rigorously ascetic approach to Zen exemplified by Daito having tempered his own enlightenment by living under a bridge with beggars and other outcasts for five years.


Peter Hershock



realized understanding

kindness and the excellent nature

of opportunities and dangers, one ably

breaks through the net of doubts snaring all

sentient beings. Departing from ‘is’ and ‘is not’,

and other such bondages…leaping over quantity and

calculation, one is without obstruction in whatever

one does. With penetrating understanding of the

present situation and its informing patterns,

one’s actions are like the sky giving rise

to clouds: suddenly they exist, and

then they don’t. Not leaving

behind any obstructing

traces, they are like

phrases written

on water.