difficulty at the beginning

quiet, luminous, still


If we persevere a great success is at hand.

The literal translation of “chun” is “a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth.” Receiving this hexagram is a sign that beyond the difficulties and pressures that surround you, a success lies waiting. In order to bring it fully into the light, you must be patient and persevere in nonaction.
No matter how fervently one desires to resolve a situation, to intervene impatiently now will only hinder the progress of good fortune. Accept and bear with the discomfort of chaos without attempting to push it away. Allowing it to clear of its own accord, in its own time, is the only way of insuring a subsequent blossoming of success.
Hold to proper principles. In your actions, seek and respect the counsel of the Sage. Allow those whose hearts are true to assist you wherever possible; be tolerant of all others. In this way the blessing that now lies hidden will come into the open.

from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 3, Chun / Difficulty at the Beginning


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an object of esteem becomes a nest

giuseppe palmisano

Haven’t you seen the saying of Master Yantou that whenever you have an object of esteem, it becomes a nest?…

Those who get a taste for the sayings of people of old make extraordinary sayings and wonderful statements into a nest…Those who get a taste for a state of quiescent silence without words or speech make a nest of closing the eyes and sitting in a ghost cave in a mountain of darkness on the other side of the prehistoric Buddhas. Those who get a taste for the goings-on of daily activities make a nest of raising their eyebrows, blinking their eyes, and alerting attention…

If you do not have a strong will and discipline to step back and realize your error, you will imagine what you esteem to be extraordinary, imagine it to be mysterious and marvelous, imagine it to be peace and security, imagine it to be ultimate, imagine it to be liberation.

Those who entertain such imaginations could not be helped even if the Buddha appeared in the world. In the teachings this is called the confusion of ignorance and benightedness. Why? because you are ignorant you cling to error and consider it right. Because you are benighted you remain plunged into what you esteem and cannot budge.

If you do not produce anything in your mind, and are not fixated on anything, then you have no object of esteem. When you have no object of esteem, you naturally have no greed and no dependence on things, independent in the midst of things, with bare-boned strength. 

If you want such accord right now, it is not difficult; just be equanimous in mind, unaffected by anything. What is affectation? Formulating concepts of sentient beings, concepts of Buddha, concepts of the mundane, concepts of the transcendental, concepts of seeking detachment, concepts of seeking enlightened knowledge. Those are all called affectations.

Just concentrate intensely on the brink of arousal, and leap out in one jump — this mind will be clear, independently liberated. Then as soon as you sense this, turn upward, and you will spontaneously be lucid everywhere; it will be evident in everything. 

When you manage to reach such a state, don’t keep taking note of it. If you keep taking note of it, then you’ll have an object of esteem.


treasury of the eye of true teaching


without leaving wherever you are

steady devotion


Yongjia said,

“Without leaving wherever you are,

there is constant clarity.” No words come closer

to the truth than these. If you start seeking, then we know

that you are unable to see. Just cut off any duality between

“wherever you are” and “constant clarity,” and make

yourself peaceful and serene. Avoid concocting

intellectual understanding and seeking.

As soon as you seek, it is like

grasping at shadows.



zen letters



when the dust is polished off a mirror

clayton cubitt


When the illusory body

is extinguished, the illusory mind is

also extinguished. When the illusory mind

is extinguished, the illusory sense objects are

also extinguished. When the illusory sense

objects are extinguished, the illusory

extinguishing is also



When the illusory

extinguishing is extinguished, that

which is not illusory is not extinguished.

It is similar to how, when the dust

is polished off a mirror, the

brightness appears.


Virtuous one,

you should know that body

and mind are both illusory dust.

When the form of this dust is wiped

away, purity pervades

the universe.


The Sutra of Complete Enlightenment

from Dialogues in a Dream

by Musō Soseki