“Most of us approach Zen practice as if it offers something we need to get. But actually, it’s more like something to get rid of.”
Blue Cliff Record Case #77: Unmon’s Rice Cake
A monk asked Unmon, “What is meant by the pronouncement to ‘go beyond the Buddha and the patriarchs’”?
Unmon said, “Rice cake.”
Because of ignorance, we are unaware of the ultimate, fundamental interconnectedness of existence, and our universe is perceived not as the ever-changing lace of illusion it is, but as a solid, somewhat static confrontation between self/me and other/everything else.
-Pamela Gayle White
Blue Cliff Record Case #62: Unmon’s One Treasure
Unmon, instructing the assembly, said, “Within heaven and earth, in the midst of the universe, there is one treasure hidden in a body. You take up the lantern and go to the Buddha Hall; you take the temple gate and put it on the lantern.”
“For most people, their spiritual teacher is their suffering. Because eventually, the suffering brings about awakening.”
Blue Cliff Record Case #60: Unmon’s Staff
Unmon showed his staff to the assembly and said, “This staff has changed into a dragon and has swallowed up the heaven and the earth. Where do mountains, rivers, and the great earth come from?”
“The fact is, once we look beyond our surface emotional reaction, we will see that almost every negative emotion, every drama, comes down to one or more of the three most basic fears: the fear of losing safety and control, the fear of loneliness and disconnection, and the fear of unworthiness.”
Case #54: Unmon Stretches His Arms
Unmon asked a monk, “Where have you come from?”
The monk said, “From Saizen.”
Unmon said, “What words does Saizen say lately?”
The monk stretched out his arms.
Unmon slapped him.
The monk said, “I have something to say about it.”
Unmon then stretched out his own arms.
The monk remained silent.
Then Unmon hit him.