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SO ! or ?


A professor of American History I had in college would sometimes stop us in our tracks with the comment "... assuming what you said is true, what does it mean." His point was thinking, knowing, "the truth," and meaning, are not the same thing. In Zen we have many examples of this. One of which is thinking intellect /reason and emotions/feelings are our only experiences. In Zen we say IT is beyond these impressions.

This being the third Wednesday of the month, we have a Dharma discussion where one can propose any topic or ask any question as we explore the Dharma (the Whole). As the legend goes Shakyamuni Buddha was pondering whether it was possible to teach how he became enlightened. The legend continues, that the Brahma Sahampati, asked the Buddha three times to teach his "Dharma" to people. It was only after the third ask that he agreed...

In Zen we do not have a syllabus, or a liturgy that we follow because as noted, words get in the way after awhile. At some point we relent into awareness of an in-between that sort of enjoins a sense of serenity suspended in emptiness. Here is what Shakyamuni Buddha said (Okumura, Living by Vow p. 23 and 24) about SO!

That enlightenment that I have attained through many hardships

Should I now teach to others?

Those who hold fast to greed and hatred

Cannot easily understand this Truth

Against the common stream

Subtle, profound, fine and difficult to perceive

It cannot be seen by those

Who are lost in desire cloaked by darkness...


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