if you can penetrate “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

real.”

 

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

completed.

 

Dahui

 

gradual cultivation

lori andrews

 

You must keep this

mind balanced and equanimous,

without deluded ideas of self and others,

without arbitrary loves and hates, without grasping

or rejecting, without notions of gain and loss.

Go on gradually nurturing this for

a long time, perhaps twenty

or thirty years.

 

Whether you encounter

favorable or adverse conditions,

do not retreat or regress — then when you

come to the juncture between life and death,

you will naturally be set free and be not afraid.

As the saying goes, “Truth requires sudden

awakening, but the phenomenal

level calls for gradual

cultivation.”

 

Yuanwu

zen letters

 

do non-doing and inherit the universe

giovani cordioli

 

Why

wait around for

a teacher? Pick up staff

and knock the sense out of

yourself, so you can

enter eternity.

 

The ancestors

are everywhere around you,

offering the silent light of truth.

Put down what you’re doing with

your mind and pick up that up.

Do non-doing, and you’ll

inherit the whole

universe.

 

Wei wu Wei Ching, Chapter 7

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the highest good is like water

kadir nelson

 

The highest

good is like water,

which benefits all things and

contends with none. It flows in low

places that others disdain, and

thus it is close to

the tao.

 

In living,

choose your ground well.

In thought, stay deep in the heart.

In relationships, be generous.

In speaking, hold to the truth.

In leadership, be organized.

In work, do your best.

In action, be

timely.

 

If you compete with no one,

no one can compete with you.
 

from The Tao te Ching of Lao Tzu,

Chapter 8

 

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