hell zen



(Hell Zen was a demon who taught a scary brand of Zen pitched to "the select few": result, this pandemonium of fragmented & dissonant quasi-musical "notes" showering like sparks from the Great Dark Void. "Ah!" One might describe him as a Pan Humanist complete with cloven hooves, fire-breathing & a dog-eared copy of Pascal's Pensées -- though he drew far different conclusions from his own frightful confrontation with "infinite spaces" than Blaise, for all his modesty, did. Among Hell Zen's often repeated points is that the many Hell Realms are exactly as "real" or "not real" as the so-called Physical World, since "reality" is secondary to "Experience" or in the wider sense to "Consciousness." We've all been to the Hell Realms, or are there now -- or are going to them in a big hurry -- a fact which gives these notes a special poignancy, though I expect few readers will get anything more out of them than a stabbing migraine. "All the senses are just Consciousness on brilliant Display. Now you see it, now you don't. Where is it Seeing you from?")

Even the gods and demons have to do Zen if they want to see ultimate reality.

A man took shelter one night in a haunted temple. Two demons were fighting over a fresh corpse. They asked the man to arbitrate. One of the demons didn't like the man's judgement, and tore off his arm. The other demon took pity on the man. Using demon-magic, he tore an arm off the corpse and fastened it to the man's shoulder socket. So it went all night, and by dawn the man's body had been entirely replaced by parts of the corpse. The demons vanished with sunrise. Eerie, huh? The man wandered, going insane over the question Who am I?, until he met a Zen monk on the road who taught him Hell Zen. Actually, the monk was really a shameful drunkard who liked to spend all day and night in brothels. He was reincarnated as a demon.

When Ramana Maharshi was 17, he imagined his body as a corpse. Lying on the floor, he asked himself, "WHO is imagining this body as dead?"

A man I know was once walking across Boston Common and he asked himself what it really IS to be alive. What is the essence of living? He felt that his thoughts were not the essence of living, though thoughts might point to it. He began to concentrate powerfully on his sensations. He shut his eyes and saw patterns of light and shadow. He felt the blood pulsing. He heard his own breathing, from inside. Concentrated powerfully on this. He heard the shouts of children. He heard wind in the treetops. He thought: "Being alive is grasping the world by way of my senses." Was he right? The story has more. For he suddenly realized that whenever he focused his clear, powerful awareness on one sensation, the others vanished. He couldn't be aware of everything at once, he suddenly realized. This is a problem if for you the essence of living is your sensations. Because it means you're dead to that which you don't grasp. Then he thought, "But WHO is doing the grasping? WHO is sensing the world, right now?" And a lightning bolt hit him.

This is not an intellectual problem. Shut your eyes and feel your shoulders, right now. Then feel your feet. (With your mind.) Is something happening? Feel, with your mind, a small space just between your eyebrows. Make it very small. Try to concentrate all your attention on it. Wasn't that weird? You don't need ghosts and astral bodies when you can pull this trick any time you like. Crazy as hell. Wonderful, too.

If you say form is emptiness, I'll drag you down to hell and torture you with pincers and fire. If you say emptiness is form, I'll eat you. Dark pond, bullfrog jumps -- PLUNK! Which part of Basho's haiku is empty, and which part has form?

Form is emptiness (speak). Emptiness is form (don't say a word).

Emptiness is NOT, which is why there are forms. So shiki soku ze ku, ku soku ze shiki has a special meaning. Am I right?

Hell Zen Awakening is to ordinary Zen "mindfulness" as a lightning bolt as big as the universe is to a firefly on a calm summer night.

In Hell Zen, a puncture is worth a thousand wounds.

Have you ever looked at where you are and considered that it is moving?

The sound of the night foghorn echoes the impermanence of all things.

Naked awareness, without any conceptual overlay, is EMPTY. The bird's song neither begins nor exists nor ends. The mouth of a demon says it is EMPTY. What is it empty of?

Playing a bamboo flute that shivers like water or serpent.

The sound of the San Francisco foghorns this afternoon, as the blindingly white fog blows in, echoes the impermanence of all things.

The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things.

A demon I know sings: "Everything changes; everything appears and disappears. When life and death are transcended, NIRVANA will be bliss."

"For such a falling short, and for no crime, we are all lost, and suffer only this: hopeless, we live forever in desire."

What if you woke up tomorrow wearing a demon mask you couldn't pry off?

Have you ever thought that maybe a special hell exists for someone just like you?

Rilke was sitting in a sunlit garden in Capri when a bird shrilled and the sound pierced right through him as if he was totally empty. You, or even a grinning hell-demon, can have the same experience -- struck as if by lightning, shocked into naked awareness. Why wait?

Buddha said that human beings have not five but six senses. Actually, the sixth sense is where all the other senses are perceived.

Shakuhachi music is always enjoyed by ghosts and hell-demons.

Did you know that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Heaven, and 1 being Hell, Earth is about a 2? Is that, in your opinion, good or bad?

"blindingly white a cloud" What is the reason, could you say, WHY a hell-demon would start his Hell Dharma teaching with a beautiful haiku?

The Buddha, sitting in Jetta grove, said: "Past mind can't be grasped, present mind can't be grasped, and future mind can't be grasped." Why take his word for it? He was speaking from HIS experience. Try it for yourself and see what happens. Grasp past, present, or future mind I am waiting. Did you grasp your mind yet? Did you grasp any mind at all? Past? Present? Future? It's getting scary in here. Don't be afraid. Scary moments like these are what my Hell Zen is for. That's when it really jolts into gear.

Demonic humor is ironic with a twist -- and a dash of sulphur.

As you get closer to Hell, people get more ironic. Have you ever noticed? Not to mention bitter.

Don't worry -- my Hell Zen will not send you to hell. Because if you're still reading this, you're there already.

We demons have to hellp each other out.

Try to define what I mean by "you."

"Long ago, when I wasn't even looking, my life started with a big bang. Scaring me out of my skin."

You. Who or what are you, reading this right now?

How can you be absolutely sure you're not a demon? Go look in the mirror. I will wait. Did looking in the mirror comfort you? Or do you feel a little scared?

So Hell Zen might once have been very useful for you. And it may again be useful in the future. Or maybe it is useful to you right now. Try to define what I mean by "useful."

Buddha taught: 1) Absolutely no one exists to be "reincarnated." 2) You have lived innumerable lives before this one, many in "hell-realms." How do you reconcile this apparent contradiction? Does the contradiction prove to you that Buddha taught nonsense? Are you that shallow?

Who was watching you swim in the ocean that day?

Life started when you weren't looking. Did you ever think of that? Who was it who wasn't looking?

You may be asking when the first lesson starts. I hate to break it to you, but it has already started. It started when you weren't looking.

When was the last time you felt "scared out of your skin"? Try to remember it in gory detail. Got it?

"Are you qualified to go to hell?" "Yes."

You can learn my Hell Zen and do other kinds of yoga and Zen if you want. Taste it all. Live. No one is going to, say, devour you for that.

"Entering the realm of Buddhas is a snap. Entering the realm of demons, however, gets kind of tricky." Ikkyu, Zen Master.

There are no lotuses in hell. But as a certain infernal French poet wrote: "in the woods there is a bird whose song makes you blush."

My Zen is not for people who want to wear robes and sit in a zendo in the half-lotus or full lotus posture (zazen) trying to get Awakened.

Some of the ancient patriarchs also taught "Hell Zen." Their idea was that Zen is for everybody, even denizens of Hell. We're all just poor wayfaring strangers, until we wake up with a shock.

"Are you qualified to teach Zen?" "No."

This is a site for Zen training. My Zen is "hell zen." That is, a Zen transmission especially suited for those who have been through hell. Or who are going through hell right this instant.

Playing an iron flute with no holes in it.

blindingly white a cloud

The Dali Lama is an extremely smart person whose early writings explicating the ins and outs of Madhyamika philosophy are unsurpassed.

The Buddhist parrot croaks, Polly want some mindfulness. Polly want the Dali Lama to teach me how to be happy.

If you want to train your mind, then you must raise the energy (ki) in your body. You want a strong current of ki that you can always feel. People who do hard ki training usually reach a spontaneous realization of the Bliss of Emptiness. Concepts dissolve like clouds in the sky. So don't let anyone tell you you need to wear robes, "practice Buddhism" or "do Zen sitting," or think about koans. Nor do you need to read a lot of books on spirituality.

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, we would see everything as it is -- Infinite." Hell Zen = seeing everything as it is. Infinite.

When a cloud dissolves in the sky, the sky is still there. Immovable. Serene. Eternal.

Your body -- with its five senses -- is just an organ of Consciousness, which is the 6th sense. You are Consciousness using a body to sense.

Nothing "exists" but in my perception of it. Very mysterious. Yet "knowing" that I perceive is the really impenetrable mystery.

No power in the whole universe could cause wood, water, fire, air, soil, etc. to ever be perceived, if Consciousness were lacking.

"Only in Chaos are beings such as us conceivable." -- from Roberto Bolano's novel 2666. Do you agree?

We are floating in the inconceivable.

Another day. Another opportunity to open yourself to the extraordinary.

"This floating world is a dream." I used to sing that song in a past reincarnation in Japan. It always made me cry.

"This floating world is but a dream. Therefore the ancients enjoyed themselves with lights and music." "

The Hell Zen position on the reincarnation issue is: If you can't grasp who you are right now, why should you be able to in a future life?

Lucid Dreaming Yoga is quite interesting. You can actually meet people who have died, or not yet been born.

Dreams are made of Consciousness. So is waking reality. For Consciousness, there is no "real" difference between dreaming and not.

For Consciousness, there is no real difference either between being you and being me, a human being or a demon. Both are modes of mind.

Sometimes in a lucid dream I meet women of special power and wisdom -- dakinis, the Tibetans call them.

When I teach the Dharma in Hell, the demons ask: After my enlightenment, will I still be able to enjoy killing and devouring human beings? When I teach the Dharma on earth, people ask: After my enlightenment, will I still be able to enjoy pornography and fetish sex?

A few months ago everyone on Wall Street woke up to the fact that they live in Hell. And they may have to spend the rest of their lives wondering where their next bottle of Chateau Haut-Brion is coming from.

As a demon, I live by sensations. So I am well aware that when I use words like "Consciousness," they're meaningless. Why not then, just say that there is no difference between "Consciousness" and "sensations" except an imaginary conceptual one.

Although demons know very well that material reality is like a dream -- transient, without enduring substance -- we love and prize it. We like dreams. We like hallucinations in the night.

Denying the material world is denying what makes your music haunting. The thrill of being part of interdependent origination.

There are five holes in a Shakuhachi flute. It's the holes plus the hollowness, emptiness of the bamboo that make it sing. In the same way, your body is "open" to the outside -- through eyes, ears, nose, mouth and the pores of your skin. All are "holes." Magically, then, your senses -- made of emptiness -- create the haunting music that is you. When Consciousness blows into your body. Like the Holy Spirit. Or Shakti. Your body is an instrument of boundless, silently knowing Consciousness.

Since if I feel sensations -- if sensations be sensations -- then it is Consciousness talking. All the senses are consciousness.

So, here is your Hell Zen injunction for this miraculous day: "Beat the drum of deathlessness in this world of dust."

When you hear taiko drums, they seem to go right through you. Everything disappears but the sound and resonance of the drums. Likewise a note of the Shakuhachi flute. "One note, perfect." Supreme joy.

At some undefined time in the future, you are going to have to face Yama, the Lord of Death, on the battlefield of your mind. And at the time, either he will cut off your head, or you will cut off his. "Meditation" is nothing but training for this battle. If you do it in that spirit, you will definitely win. And after you've cut off Yama's head, his corpse will turn into a rain of cherry blossoms. This is called the Bliss of the Unstained Void. When Buddha attained Enlightenment as he saw the morning star, he cried out with joy. He knew he had cut off Yama's head. And when he set out to teach, he recited a gatha announcing he intended to "beat the drum of deathlessness."

The present moment is really a Gateless Gate, a sheer rock wall, a soundless explosion in space, a lightning bolt splitting the universe.

"Drop your ego." Sure. Why not try it? "Be in the present moment" -- try see what happens. The demons are laughing.

Zen isn't about "being here now," it's about putting the driver in control of the vehicle -- mind over body, emotions, and random thoughts. Whenever your mind starts "wandering" you can bring it back by focusing on a sensation, a sound, or even a point in your visual field.

Try mokuso. Sit on your heels with your hands resting calmly on your knees (or, if you want to get fancy, in the "cosmic mudra"). Eyes half open, now look steadily -- like a crow sitting on a branch -- into the Here and Now of your body, mind, spirit, and awareness. Do this for just as long as you can bear it (if you're not Japanese, your legs and feet will cramp). About ten minutes? You can shut your eyes if you like to get at the inner sense of your body as a vortex of sensations.

If you're "following" Hell Zen, why not do some Zen today?

I once met a man whose eyes were so immensely aware and alight it was like looking into a sparkling clear cloudless sky. His gaze was the gaze of a great yogi, a mahasiddha. When I glanced into his eyes, I broke out in an ice-water cold sweat and trembled. I never met him, but I imagine Miyamoto Musashi must also have had such a "Void-gaze." And Bodhidharma.

When was the last time you saw someone with flashing eyes? What about smiling eyes? Most people most of the time have dead fish eyes.

You, reading this, should do some Zen today. Tathagata Zen will give you Buddha eyes. Patriarch Zen will give you laughing eyes. Shiva Zen will give you space-eyes. Krishna Zen will give you golden eyes. Kali Ma Zen will give you lightning-bolt eyes. And Hell Zen will give you Void eyes. Let's try some Shiva Zen. Ready? This will take about four minutes. Shut your eyes and, breathing in, sense your subtle energy (ki, chi, prana, or what have you) flowing up the spine. Up from the bottom. As the subtle energy reaches your head, it bursts into a golden or white radiance and goes simultaneously everywhere at once. This is Manifestation, or Creation. Your energy has become all forms, everything simultaneously, expanding like the post Big Bang universe. Breathing out, now, once you've reached the limit of your breathing in, feel the energy drop down your spine, to the bottom. Your golden-white energetic radiance, so explosive on the in-breath, is now contracting, sinking, becoming a zero point. Utter darkness. Utter stillness. Quiescence. No forms. No thoughts. Everything has now contracted into the tanden (ki-point, 2-3 fingers below navel). This is just pure and empty potential, consciousness without anything to think about. It's imageless. Yin. It's so wonderful, this Yin zero point when every phenomena has collapsed back into pure potential, isn't it? Some people want to stay here. But no. If you're going to live, you've got to breathe. So breathe in again. If you don't, your body will make you do it anyhow. Right? You're now breathing in again, the energy is going up your spine, forms are appearing, you'll see bits of dream, galaxies forming in space. It's all exploding from your head, especially just above the crown, in all directions. "Let there be light." Wonderful! A universe appears. It's fun to see the universe appear and disappear with your breathing. You'll also discover pretty quickly whether or not your personal preference is for "forms" or "formlessness." IN breath rises and expands infinitely. OUT breath sinks and contracts infinitely. In breath = everything. Out breath = nothing.

Play with Shiva Zen meditation for bit and see what it does for you. Treat it as an interesting game, or an experiment, if you like. The day I first tried Shiva Zen, walking in San Francisco in clear sunlight, I stopped in front of a blossoming cherry tree -- Laughing and crying like an idiot! Beware. Doing too much Shiva Zen may make you appear to others like an utter fool and simpleton.

Zen isn't Sutric buddhism. You understand the Void not just with your brain but your whole body, down to the cleft hooves. In Tantra, this is called the Yoga of Spontaneous Realization. It is an ongoing and unending Enlightenment you don't need to name or grasp.

The Zen goal is to stabilize this experience, as much "physical" as it is "mental", and make it the boundless center of all action. Complete. Breathtaking. And what rises in you? Clear intuitive knowledge. Understanding that is complete and whole, but wordless.

If you do martial arts, ki-training, shugyo, or real meditation, you have probably experienced the dropping away of words and concepts. But this is still all too intellectual. We are all drowning in cleverness like flies in warm beer.

Many Asians still understand the world -- our phenomenal experience -- in terms of demonic, and godlike, forces. We haven't had this understanding for about four hundred years, since the rise of Natural Philosophy and Positivism. Except that what is a demonic or godlike force, really, but a kind of "attraction" or "repulsion" that simply happens? Quantum physics blew things open to "spooky action at a distance" -- which Asians would call a demonic or godlike power manifestation. Not just "attraction" or "repulsion", either, but particles somehow "recognizing" other particles -- displaying knowledge, consciousness. Things turning into something else. An electron and a positron collide, and are "annihilated" -- two photons spin out of the collision. Quarks jumping out of underlying probability field, then jumping back into it. In and out of our "universe." From the Void. So I'd say we should give some respect to the Asian understanding of mysterious demonic and godlike forces -- in some instances, at least.


And to think I once just wanted to open a quiet dirt-floored noodle shop in Osaka.

The nose on this face started itching long before my parents were conceived.

If you say matter and energy create mind, you are a nihilist. If you say mind creates matter and energy, you are a fool. What will you say?

"blindingly white, a cloud/dead and cold, a hummingbird"

What is the face you had before your parents were born? Was there a nose on it?

Dark sky, slashed open by lightning.

"Know thyself." Know that right now you are boundless, infinite, and indefinable, living in the fourth state without limitation.

Sure you are just a transient collection of material elements destined to grab as much greedy pleasure as you can in life, then die?

"Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky. I know this Zen of mine will never die."

"For he on honeydew hath fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise."

If you don't feel like doing Zen, an easy way to get out of your normal perception is go to a park, look at the sky,and spin until you fall. Another: fill a bucket with very cold water, stand naked in the bathtub, and pour it all at once over your head. Shoplifting, getting so enraged your mind suddenly turns clear and still as a pond, or eating a fiery Punjabi lunch will do the same trick.

Where would you be without shame and remorse and the presumptuous idea that you're a bad person? You'd have to face your life as it is.

What color is an electron? What do hell-demons eat for lunch?

What happens in the physical sensory organs is ringing, vibrations. Photon-sensitive cells in the eye vibrate when they absorb light. These vibrations go to the visual cortex. Then somehow quite magically they are assembled into a visual field, coherent images. A cloud. What assembles them? Physically speaking, there is an electromagnetic field that interacts with your brain and senses. It isn't "in" them.

Do not form any idea or concept of Awareness. It isn't seen, it is that which sees. It isn't even that which sees, it is Seeing. The Seeing of seeing. And so on, for all the senses.

If you can create this whole world in your sensory organs and body and brain out of nothing, then what CAN'T you do?

I swear to you on my life that on the day you cut off all your thoughts, you will see colors with a vividness that will make you cry out. Colors, shapes, sounds, tastes: everything will be wonderful to you. So wonderful you'll be in danger of falling into a suicidal anguish -- beating yourself over the head because it took you so long to wake up to the greenness of those bamboo stalks, the whiteness of those clouds which is a miraculous gift to you to enjoy all your life, courtesy not even of gods or dakinis, but the Primordial Purity Itself. Even the flames coming out of a demon's mouth will just make you clap your hands and shout: "Much appreciated, sir! You are really scary!"

The red peony droops. White clouds soar into the sky. The sound of the night foghorn echoes the utter impermanence of all things.

"With empty space shattered, the mind is understood."

And anyhow "bad" and "good" are relative shades of the same reality and, as the Buddha pointed out, only "exist" in dependency to each other. If you take away "bad," for instance, there is no "good." Also vice versa.

No one who wants to be happy is or will ever be happy. Only those who don't care if they're happy or not, are happy. Have you noticed that?

You are assembling everything right now out of nothing -- what wondrous power! Why should you ever doubt yourself? The truth is, you are neither as "bad" nor as "good" as you think. The brain is a machine for producing hallucinations.

Where would you be without shame and remorse and the presumptuous idea that you're a bad person? You'd have to face your life as it is.

The self is a delusion. There is absolutely nothing to it. Stop being ridiculous. When you wake up from a dream, the dream vanishes. And at the same instant, you stop being a dreamer, stumbling drunk through life.

The stench of Zen is getting so bad in here it's like the Buddha's latrine.

Ashamed of your petty addictions? Or addicted to the shame? Nothing rivets you to self-delusion like the emotion of shame.

I've got a new self-help plan for you. Wake up and start living a new, selfless life in this amazingly beautiful world as a Buddha.

Through the practice of absorption in meditation devoid of conceptualization, wisdom is accumulated. And the flawless result is the accomplishment of the Dharma Body. The Dharma Body pervades all Samsara and Nirvana, is beyond all intellectual postulation, and is devoid of arising, existence and cessation. -Kalu Rinpoche

There are definitely demonic forces, and other dark energy-beings out there, or in there, who want to meddle with you. There are also "godlike" forces out there, or in there -- entities made of mind, or clear light, who want to protect you. And they really will protect you. The buddhas and bodhisattvas, enlightened masters, and self-realized mahasiddhas will. If you ask them. Ultimately, it's all in the mind. You can dispel demons by upholding that. Dissolve them like clouds in the sky with your laughter. Once, when I was sunk in the darkest, most solitary struggle of my life, a great master, a Mahasiddha, found me on a street corner.

What is IT that's intensely aware of your body and its movements in space, yet mysteriously, when you look for it, is found nowhere at all? Put your hand behind you and touch the back of your skull. Feel the awareness in your hand. It is aware, isn't it? You can feel your hair. The awareness in your hand is now located a few inches in back of your brain. If it's the brain that's aware, how is this possible? You have just been introduced to the pervasive nature of awareness.


Let's try an experiment. Sit down, shut your eyes, and concentrate on trying to find your awareness in space. If it's in your head, what part of your head is it in? See if you can find the center of your awareness. Isn't it strange that your awareness seems to be as much "in" your chest, or shoulder, or feet, as it is inside your skull? Weird stuff. But even there, can you find the exact point where your awareness is? This is the interesting part: try bending forward with your eyes shut, concentrating intensely on your awareness. Now straighten, just as slowly, to your former sitting posture. Did your awareness move? Did it bend slowly forward when you did, then back? Try it from side to side. Lean back, all with your eyes shut. You're aware of all this, clearly aware, but is the awareness moving at all? If the awareness IS moving, does it move at exactly the same rate as your bodily movement? Does it lag behind? Or jump forward?

What is your sensory state right now, nakedly as it is, stripped of all judgement and concepts? Welcome to Supreme Perfect Enlightenment!

It is this formless, blissful, unbounded Life-Energy that gives you all Sensations. Just like it's the Mind that creates all Appearances.

Sexual energy is not different than "spiritual" energy. It's the same energetic life-current. It's what connects you to everything. Feel it?

Once upon a time a very stupid person started looking for water in the sea, but he couldn't find it because of all those damned waves!

If you rub your eyes really hard you'll see all kinds of weird smudges and spots. Does that mean they're really out there? You're like a little boy who got bored playing on the beach and rubbed sand in his own eyes. Can't see, in awful pain, you're crying Mommy! Well, come here and let Shakti spit in those eyes and clean out the sand for you. After that you'll forget about Samsara and Nirvana and just go play and have a good time. Nothing like a summer day at the beach.

Sensations and Appearances are just Consciousness playing magic tricks in and with Consciousness. Castles in the sky.

Part of the Buddha's 12 Step Recovery Program was to thoroughly remember the unhappy detail of his past lives. Having done that he was free. After recalling his past lives under the Bodhi tree, Gautama no longer craved physical life. "Housebuilder, you will build no more houses!" He had successfully "broken the habit" by going "cold turkey." He even went through an intensely traumatic "withdrawal" -- in which Mara, the Lord of the Demons, tormented him, not just with hell-beings and threats of violence, but fabulous naked dancing girls. Finally, at dawn, after an unbelievable struggle, he saw the morning star and proclaimed "The ridgepole is broken!" Guatama had just kicked his addiction to the Physical World, and so he entered the Complete Realization of the Unstained Dharma Body. Just because Buddha entered Nirvana, doesn't mean he can't come and go in any physical world exactly as he pleases. He knows it's all dream. Nothing to hold, nothing to grasp, nothing to regret. nothing to hope for, and nothing to desire. Dream. Empty as last night's rice bowl. It's not "nothingness." That's just another trick you play on yourself to stay in the Physical World. Ooh, if I let go, there's Nothing! No.

Physical World junkies will do almost anything to "score" a physical life. Even go through the mess of getting born. What's more, the typical Physical World junkie becomes less and less "choosy" and needs more and more intense sensations to feel alive. Which is why a Physical World junkie eventually throws away all caution and gets reborn in an inauspicious spot like Somalia, or Trenton New Jersey.

The first step to Recovery is to admit that you're junkie for Sensation, can't control it: the Physical World has you all topsy-turvy. You don't know if you're coming or going. The Buddha, of course, is known as the "Thus come" and also as the "Thus Gone" (Tathagata). Yet he really neither comes nor goes.

"When hungry, eat. When tired, shut your eyes. When you have to shit, go to the latrine. Wise men will understand." Zen Master Lin Chi

The Physical World doesn't really exist, but you got addicted to it anyway. Neat trick.

I know, I know, you may have started out just dabbling in physical life. In, out quick: that's what you thought. But you got hooked.

This is a 12 Step Program for freeing yourself from the addiction to the physical world and its peculiarly thrilling sensations.

There is no clear difference between the Dharma Body and dried shit.

The Dharma Body pervades all Samsara and Nirvana, is beyond all intellectual postulation, and is devoid of arising, existence and cessation

The stench of Zen is like the Buddha's latrine.

If you say matter and energy create mind, you are a nihilist. If you say mind creates matter and energy, you are a fool. What will you say?

"Everything changes; everything appears and disappears. When being and non-being both drop away, Nirvana will be bliss."

Sensations are the resonance of Infinity.

No power in the whole universe could cause anything -- fire, air, water, earth -- to appear, if Consciousness were lacking.

All the senses are consciousness.

The red peony droops. White clouds soar into the sky. The sound of the night foghorn echoes the utter impermanence of all things.

What is IT that's intensely aware of your body and its movements in space, yet mysteriously, when you look for it, is found nowhere at all?

Put your hand behind you and touch the back of your skull. Feel the awareness in your hand. It is aware, isn't it? You can feel your hair. The awareness in your hand is now located a few inches in back of your brain. If it's the brain that's aware, how is this possible?

Dream. No one exists to be or do anything. It's all just dream-content. Grasping, trying get hold of it, is like trying to hold an echo.

People actually look at a starry sky and see "constellations" as if they were things. Orion's Belt, the Big Dipper, the Bear . . . None of these are actually in the sky. They are in your mind. And every"thing" else is also in your mind, in exactly the same way. When you remove "things" from your mind, there is just the starry sky. That's why in Chan you have to forget most of what you have been taught and meet the Primordial Ultimate Reality without preconceptions.

Buddha taught egolessness to clear the way for an understanding of Dependent Arising, which is the total mass of Manifestation.

Dependent Arising simply means that all phenomena are linked together and arise together and depend on each other and on all.

The Physical World is that odd prejudice absolutely required in order to sustain the fiction of a self, a person, an ego. Or is it that the ego is the prejudice you need in order to sustain your belief in the Physical World? Either way . . .

The Buddha said, "Empty, O Ananda, everything is empty. What is it empty of? Selfhood . . . " There is no ego. It's a magic trick. Dream.

The bleat of the San Francisco foghorns at night echoes the impermanence of all things.

Nothing to grasp. Trying to grasp anything is like trying to hold an echo. Chasing after externals. Desire. Dream.

Seeking, getting attached, feeling hurt -- these are all just you. It's you in the mode that you call Ego. But the Ego is just a mask. It's a mask made of frozen desire. That's why it's always set in a grimace.

I hate to disagree with Eckhart Tolle, who I do respect, but the Ego cannot seek, get attached, or feel anything.

You don't have to read Kant to know that "space" and "time" are conceptual frames, not reality.

The Physical World is a prejudice. That is, you prejudge your sensations and Mind's appearances to be "objects" existing in "space" and "time."

Who exists to practice: to sit or chant the Heart Sutra or to call on Amitabh?

Go ahead an "practice" Zen, but as long as you think YOU are practicing, you're further from your Original Self than if you didn't practice.

In fact, that big pine tree is in the Primordial Infinite Purity right now, and is enjoying Itself. Why oh why aren't I?

You can throw as much dirt and filth into the Boundless as you want. It will always clean and refresh itself and will be clear again.

Every piece of the infinite is just as infinite as the whole infinite.

You think you are "looking at " a big pine tree but your mind is just assembling a ringing of sensations and visual information. Then projecting what it has been conditioned to believe: that there is a "big pine tree" really out there.

Ultimately, there isn't any "world of phenomena" or anything like that. Sunyata means no inherent aspects, marks or characteristics.

What happens in the Dream, stays in the Dream.

Going from life to life is like going from one dream after another. Nobody is really going anywhere.

Infinity likes to play at being finite.

Do I deny the material world? I just don't see one. If you see one, that's fine for you. Or maybe you should get your eyes checked?

The truth is you are holding up this whole infinity of a flashing "material" world like a kid holding a sparkler on the 4th of July. Wow!

It's like a fire-wheel made with a flaming stick. The wheel doesn't truly exist, but since you see it it doesn't exactly not exist, either. All the dharmas are like this, and it's wonderful. Empty, just empty and pure. Bits of infinity that are as big as all infinity. Right?

Even if this projection out of Infinity -- this wild hallucination that is so painfully persistent and feels so real -- is nothing at all.

Even then, what? It's magic. Eyes to see, eyes to cry with. What more do you want?

Empty as a clap, empty as a bell. Empty as a foghorn, a summer sky, a blindingly white cloud. Nothing to add or take away.

I am grateful for the Primordial Purity. I am grateful too for the odd projection or extension that this so-called phenomenal world mind is.

Atheists and God-believers have this in common: they are always trying to get me to believe what they do. Act shocked when I don't.

Shut your eyes and, concentrating intensely on your awareness itself, bow deeply, then straighten. Did the awareness move at all? Maybe yours did, but my awareness didn't move at all. No matter what I do with my body or where my thoughts go, the awareness is still. Utterly still, silent, clear, and knowing. I just got chills writing that. I get chills every time I do the experiment. Not the bad, scared chills, but the good and awe-inspiring, William Blake-style chills. The delicious lingering shiver of Primordial Purity.

Don't read Rumi; be Rumi.

Nothing wrong with being a monk, bowing and chanting, and doing laundry. It's just the universe, no, the Primordial Being, bowing, etc.

A whore hawking her body on a streetcorner is also just Primordial Being selling the wondrous Dharma Body.

"Old woman Wang sells melons: she sells and advertises them too." Seung Sahn selling Zen, teaching people how to shout KATZ! was selling the wondrous Original Purity. But no more so than the old Garifuna woman in Belize who sold me a "very fresh, very ripe, very sweet" mango.

The more you say everything melts into One, the more carefully you need to uphold Two. Otherwise everything just turns to dried shit stick. Seung Sahn sleeping with his female students was taking a serious risk of falling into a hell realm. Zen masters have to uphold boundaries.

So, you see, my mangoes are sweet, and I've no begging bowl to rattle under your nose. I don't even want a tip on a winning horse. Today I gave a fiver to a street poet named Osiris who'd just recited me a piece containing a line about "the verdant valleys of Eternity."

When a Zen monk in Berkeley drops you, you know you're either doling out the Dharma very badly, or marvelously well. Either way . . .

I once dreamt that the universe was an intelligent and self-aware and self-invented being trying to experience everything through all of us.

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