a most essential shortcut

emily fikkert

If you want to attain Intimacy, the first thing is, don’t seek it. If you attain through seeking, you have already fallen into interpretive understanding.

This is especially true because this great treasury extends through all times, clearly evident, empty and bright. Since time without beginning it has been your own basic root: you depend on its power in all your actions.

You will only pass through to freedom when you cease and desist to the point that not even a single thought is born. Then you penetrate through without falling into sense and matter and without dwelling in conceptualizations and mental images.

When you absolutely transcend these, then the whole world does not hide it. Everywhere everything becomes its Great Function, and every single thing flows forth from your own breast. The ancients called this bringing out the family treasure. Once this is attained, it is attained forever. How could it ever be used up?

Just be wary that your investigation does not rest on a firm footing, and that you will not be able to penetrate through to realization. You must bravely cut off all entanglements, so there is not the slightest dependence or reliance. Relinquish your body and give up your life and directly accept the suchness that faces you; there is no other. 

Then even if the thousand sages came forth it wouldn’t change you at all. Leaving it to the flow at all times, eating food and wearing clothes, you nurture the embryo of sagehood to maturity, not keeping to intellectual understanding. Isn’t this an especially excellent teaching and a most essential shortcut?


zen letters



marry mind to breath and look within

joni niemala




of the Oneness is

contained within you.

Don’t believe it?

Go look.



senses can’t perceive it.

Thought fails to apprehend it.

Approach by sacrificing all knowing

and doing, though, and it 

envelops you.



mind to breath and

look within until all false

concepts and imaginings

come to an end. This

is the center of

the Way.


Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 63

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equanimity in all you say think and do

fefo bouvier


Give proper nourishment

to yourself and


The image of this hexagram is that of an open mouth. It comes to remind us that the nourishment of our bodies and spirits is important and merits our conscientious attention.

The I Ching teaches us that if we wish to gauge someone’s character, we should notice what he nourishes in himself and in others. Those who cultivate inferior behaviors and relationships are inferior people; those who cultivate superior qualities in themselves and others are superior people. This is a test that we should apply to ourselves as well as to others.

What you put into your body is obviously important. Because it determines your fundamental physical well-being, it is wise to be moderate and thoughtful about the food you eat. What you put into your mind is even more significant, and regulating it is a more subtle art. This hexagram gives us three-part advice on that subject.

The first counsel is that we should not feed our minds on desire. When we forego our equanimity and begin to desire something or someone, a host of other inferior influences comes into play: we become ambitious about obtaining the object of our desire; we become fearful that we will not; if we do achieve it our ego is gratified and strengthened and it soon issues another demand for us to meet. A self-reinforcing cycle of negativity is thus created. Therefore it is wise to hold yourself free from desire.

The second counsel is that we begin and continue in a regular practice of meditation. Sitting quietly with our eyes closed for even as little as ten or fifteen minutes a day begins to “clear the waste” out of our hearts and minds, making room for the nourishment of peace and wisdom to enter in. To sit in meditation is tune your ear to the voice of the Sage, and it is the most powerful way of gaining his assistance.

The final counsel is that we observe tranquility in speech, thoughts, and actions. By cultivating calm and equanimity in all that you say, think, and do, you nourish your superior self and that of those around you. One who follows these three counsels now will meet with good fortune.


from The I Ching, or Book of Changes

Hexagram 27 / Providing Nourishment


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