The Gift of Nothing

02024-01-06 | Uncategorized | 3 comments

The old Zen Masters had a wonderful way of pulling the rug out from under any place that anyone landed and tried to set up camp. If you said you were a person, they’d point out that the self cannot be found. If you insisted that you were not a person and that there is no self, they would point to the absolute, undeniable uniqueness and beauty of each snowflake, each whirlpool, each wave, each person. If you insisted you had to work hard and practice diligently to awaken, they would point to the fact that you are already awake, that it takes no effort and no time to arrive Here / Now. If you said no practice was needed and that kicking the dog was no different from meditating, they might slap (or kick) you. Wherever you try to land, whatever you grasp and begin to assert, wherever you fixate, the true Zen Master pulls that particular rug out from under you.

Dreaming Awake at the End of Time

Click on the above link to read more. The whole quote (perhaps from this book) is very good. I came across it while searching for something else in my Evernote. The quoted author is Joan Tollifson. I looked for her website + then I looked at the list of books she has written. One title immediately made me LOL: Death: The End of Self-Improvement. Of course I put that on my reading list for 2024. :-)


  1. anne

    maybe a zen master needs a slap or kick

    historically – does not seem to be a helpful philosophy when dealing with real world concerns

  2. Jim

    Re: anne, You think you are smart, but maybe you missed this one?

    The quote makes many points and related to many things.

    I appreciate it.

    • anne

      re global complex problems – if zen philosophy can help decision makers make better decisions – great

      …do zen masers consult with global leaders?


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