Juxtaposition-ing: Teachings from Baha’i and Zen Buddhism

This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty………. by Baha’u’llah – http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/GWB/gwb-153.html

Not knowing how near the truth is,
People seek it far away, what a pity!
They are like him who, in the midst of water,
Cries in thirst so imploringly.

Zen master Hakuin – (January 19, 1686 – January 18, 1768)

Zen master Hakuin: his comment on ‘the sound of one hand clapping’

What is the Sound of a Single Hand?

When you clap together both hands a sharp sound is heard; when you raise the one hand there is neither sound nor smell…

If conceptions and discriminations are not mixed within it and it is quite apart from seeing, hearing, perceiving, and knowing, and if while walking, standing, sitting, and reclining, you proceed straightforwardly without interruption in the study of this koan, then in the place where reason is exhausted and words are ended, you will suddenly pluck out the karmic root of birth and death and break down the cave of ignorance.

Hakuin’s own explanation, as translated by Phillip Yampolksy in The Zen Master Hakuin: Selected Writings, pg. 164


RP I particularly like the phrase ‘breakdown of the cave of ignorance’. Of course we are inevitably reminded of Plato’s allegory of the Cave – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

I recall that in one of his early books Guy Claxton refers to a Zen teacher who asked why Westerners go East in their spiritual search when what is to be found lies in our ancient teachers, such as Plato.

Of course it is delicious and delightful to juxtapose teachings from East and West!

SEE – http://oook.info/easia/onehand.html

Christian and Zen quotations

“When one side is revealed, the other is concealed.”

A monk asked Joshu, “All things return to the One. Where does the One return to?”

Joshu said, “When I was in the province of Sai, I made a cloth shirt. It weighed seven pounds.”
~Blue Cliff Record, Case 45

“Light has no front or back.”
~Traditional Zen Saying

“What is the sound of a single hand?”

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalms 36:9).

ZEN SAYING: “At first, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. Then, I saw mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers. Finally, I see mountains again as mountains, and rivers again as rivers.”

You know the sound of two hands clapping…

You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand? Zen Master Hakuin)


THREE QUOTES ON MEDITATION “Reading makes a full…


“Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

“Meditation here may think down hours to moments. Here the heart may give a useful lesson to the head and learning wiser grow without his books.” – William Cowper (English Poet 1731-1800)

“What is this true meditation? It is to make everything: coughing, swallowing, waving the arms, motion, stillness, words, action, the evil and the good, prosperity and shame, gain and loss, right and wrong, into one single koan” – Hakuin – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakuin