Monthly Archives: January 2016

Jan. 24-30

“Zen practice isn’t about a special place or a special peace, or something other than being with our life just as it is. It’s one of the hardest things for people to get: that my very difficulties in this very moment are the perfection.”

-Charlotte Joko Beck


Blue Cliff Record Case #15: Unmon’s Preaching in the Reverse
A monk asked Unmon, “What is it that’s not the function of the mind in me nor a thing before me?”
Unmon said, “Preaching in the reverse.”

Jan. 17-23

“Zen Master Dogen has pointed out that anxiety, when accepted, is the driving force to enlightenment in that it lays bare the human dilemma at the same time that it ignites our desire to break out of it.”

-Philip Kapleau


Blue Cliff Record Case #14: Unmon’s Preaching Fittingly
A monk asked Unmon, “What is the teaching of the whole lifetime of Shakyamuni?”
Unmon said, “Preaching one thing.”

Jan. 10-16

“Our thinking and conceptualizing, far from giving us a handle on Truth, obstruct our natural ability to see Reality directly. Our thinking—no matter how or what we think—is out of step with how things actually are. Once you see this for yourself, you will stop trying to figure out what’s going on.”

-Steve Hagen


Blue Cliff Record Case #6: Unmon’s Good Day
Unmon, giving instruction, said: “I don’t ask you about before the fifteenth day; bring me a phrase about after the fifteenth day.”
Unmon himself answered in the monks’ stead, “Every day is a good day.”

Jan. 3-9

“The big, practical trick to understanding egolessness is to tune into the fact that sensations arise on their own in a natural causal fashion, even the intentions to do things. This is a formal practice instruction.”

-Daniel Ingram


Gateless Gate Case #39: Unmon and a Mistake in Speaking
A monk said to Unmon, “The brilliance of the Buddha silently illuminates the whole universe…”
But before the monk could finish the verse, Unmon said, “Aren’t those the words of Chõetsu the Genius?”
“Yes, they are,” answered the monk.
“You have slipped up in your speaking,” Unmon said.
Afterward, Shishin Zenji brought up the matter and said, “Tell me, at what point did the monk err in his speaking?”