Carl McColman & Thich Nhat Hanh on silence. “Silence is God’s first language.”

“Silence is God’s first language; everything else is a poor translation. In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and rest in God.”— Invitation to Love – Carl McColman

Published on 30 Nov 2015
Speaking before an intimate live audience on August 23, 2015, Carl McColman (author of “Befriending Silence”) reflects on the spirituality of silence and its role in the Christian contemplative life.

-0-

Thich Nhat Hanh – http://tnhaudio.org/2016/04/02/purification-of-speech/

Advertisements

An old Zen koan

In meeting a man along the way, greet him neither with words nor with silence. Now tell me, how will you greet him?
— An old Zen koan

http://www.tricycle.com/feature/meeting-man-way?page=0,0

A kōan (公案?)/ˈkoʊ.ɑːn/; Chinese: 公案; pinyin: gōng’àn; Korean: 공안 (kong’an); Vietnamese: công án) is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen practice to provoke the “great doubt” and test a student’s progress in Zen practice. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dan

Examples of traditional kōans[edit]
Does a dog have Buddha-nature[edit]
Main article: Mu (negative)
A monk asked Zhàozhōu, “Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?” Zhaozhou said, “Wú”.

(“Zhaozhou” is rendered as “Chao-chou” in Wade-Giles, and pronounced “Joshu” in Japanese. “Wu” appears as “mu” in Japanese, meaning “no”, “not”, “nonbeing”, or “without” in English. This is a fragment of Case #1 of the Wúménguān. However, another koan presents a longer version, in which Zhaozhou answered “yes” in response to the same question asked by a different monk: see Case #18 of the Book of Serenity.)

The sound of one hand[edit]
Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand? (隻手声あり、その声を聞け)

— Hakuin Ekaku
Victor Hori comments:

…in the beginning a monk first thinks a kōan is an inert object upon which to focus attention; after a long period of consecutive repetition, one realizes that the kōan is also a dynamic activity, the very activity of seeking an answer to the kōan. The kōan is both the object being sought and the relentless seeking itself. In a kōan, the self sees the self not directly but under the guise of the kōan … When one realizes (“makes real”) this identity, then two hands have become one. The practitioner becomes the kōan that he or she is trying to understand. That is the sound of one hand.[web 6]

Original Face[edit]
Main article: Original face
Huìnéng asked Hui Ming, “Without thinking of good or evil, show me your original face before your mother and father were born.” (This is a fragment of case #23 of the Wumenguan.)

Killing the Buddha[edit]
If you meet the Buddha, kill him. (逢佛殺佛)

— Linji
Thinking about the Buddha as an entity or deity is delusion, not awakening. One must destroy the preconception of the Buddha as separate and external before one can become internally as their own Buddha. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki wrote in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind during an introduction to Zazen,

Kill the Buddha if the Buddha exists somewhere else. Kill the Buddha, because you should resume your own Buddha nature.

One is only able to see a Buddha as he exists in separation from Buddha, the mind of the practitioner is thus still holding onto apparent duality.

Other koans[edit]
A student asked Master Yun-Men (A.D. 949) “Not even a thought has arisen; is there still a sin or not?” Master replied, “Mount Sumeru!”
A monk asked Dongshan Shouchu, “What is Buddha?” Dongshan said, “Three pounds of flax.” (This is a fragment of case #18 of the Wumenguan as well as case #12 of the Blue Cliff Record.)
A monk asked Zhaozhou, “What is the meaning of the ancestral teacher’s (i.e., Bodhidharma’s) coming from the west?” Zhaozhou said, “The cypress tree in front of the hall.” (This is a fragment of case #37 of the Wumenguan as well as case #47 of the Book of Serenity.)

Spiritual gems that came my way this week

“You must be emptied of that with which you are full, so you may be filled with that whereof you are empty. St Augustine.” ― David R. Loy, The World Is Made of Stories
-0-

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”- Matthew 18-20 – NIV
-0-

“The intention behind each action determines its effect. Our intentions and our actions affect not only us but also others. If we believe that every intention and action evolves as we progress on our spiritual journey, then if we act consciously we evolve consciously, but if we act unconsciously we involve unconsciously. ”
– Alfred Huang, I Ching
-0-

RP Loved this poem that I found here – http://www.julietallardjohnson.com/calendar/41 (A great site!)
A poem written by Mokasiya at our 2014, May retreat day;

The Farmer
is out planting corn
and i
am trying to write
the greatest poem ever,
unbeknown to him
and that cheese grater tractor
not a John Deere,
or the PTO
not a Personal Terrorist Operation
sounds like a dentist drill
that will not stop
grinding at the cavity
of misplaced words
unloved grammar
and rhyme
that i fail to plant,
that i cannot hear
that i neglect to find.
-0-

Rupert Spira’s videos are here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/rupertspira
-0-

“Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe.

Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but repletion A filling up.”
~ Anne D. LeClaire

  • from stillnessspeaks.com

-0-

Is there enough Silence for the Word…

“Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?” T.S. Eliot asks in his poem ‘Ash Wednesday’.

http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-7/ash_wednesday_t_s_eliot.htm

The true contemplative is not one who prepares…

The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light.

He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when he is “answered” is is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.

Thomas Merton…Dialogues with Silence, Prayers and Drawings, xiii