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May 29, 2008


Mark Andrews

Isn't Zen practice preferable to any amount of reading about it?


I'm reading KIm's essay right now and find it refreshing and a good attitudinal corrective to my Zen sitting, ( somewhat like maintaining a good mental posture as well as a physical one).

Mark Andrews

Evagrius, tell me about Kim's essay without speaking. If you open your mouth, I hit you 30 times. If you remain silent, I hit you 30 times. Answer quickly!

Bob Hughes

1. Point your left index to the place where others see your face.
Don't look at the pointing finger itself.
Look at what the finger is pointing at.
What do you see?
I see nothing.
It remains silent.

2. At the same time point your right index finger at an external object--the moon, for example.
What do you see?
I see a white object--maybe craters--in dark space --maybe earthly clouds scudding by.
I open my mouth and say, "The Moon."

3. This is two-way looking (or speaking).
This is neither to lose yourself in your Emptiness nor in what fills it, but simultaneously to view the thing you are looking at and the No-thing you are looking out of. There will be found no times when this two-way attention is out of place or can safely be dispensed with. The price of sanity is vigilance.
(See www.headless.org)

The koan's function is not to abandon words, but rather to liberate and restore them in the Zen enterprise (page 78 of Kim's book on Dogen, Chapter 4, The Reason of Words and Letters).

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