You are on page 1of 218

Zen Buddhism, which aims at breaking through the thought-barrier to direct enkghtenment, is coming West. In the last fifteen centuries Zen training has produced some of the greatest minds and the finest art and culture of

towards this direct experience of reality. Dr. D. T. Suzuki has brought to the West a knowledge of Zen Buddhism, but can books alone enable the Western student to achieve the Zen experience ?

China and Japan. Now, the more intuiWestern thinkers, frustrated by ^limitations of the intellect, are ^:x::^ for a means of developing tlie mind
tive

Zen Buddhism,, is attempting to solve this problem. Here is a method of approach as practised by a gr wp in London, with a record of their fa ire and success. It involves removing a host of fixed ideas,
i

Mr. Christmas Humphreys, founder of the Buddhist Society and author of

singleness of aim, md an intuitive awareness of the onertss wLidi lies

developing a trairud will with a

new

beyond

thought. It

aracter-buildiiig with deliberate purpoti; A:d all this in the
is
:

c

course of tie day
fierce

s
:

M
0.1

t)rk,

in a blend of

determim;
*; i,

anc

enormous

Zen Comes West Christmas Humphreys ; Unwin eorge Allen
.

&

KANSAS

CITY,

MO PUBLIC LIBRARY

D DDD1

OBlOfln

7

294 H927z Humphreys Zen comes west

66-21560

66-21560
294 H927z **"* Humphreys west Zen comes

f .

.

ZEN COMES WEST .

etc. ..by the same author ZEN BUDDHISM STUDIES IN THE MIDDLE WAY THE WAY OF ACTION etc.

.

S *> > |~J w u w w g^ tti cJ O JS <J 8J 8 G a I IB Ocj >- co q co oo to .a a cd o * "d .

Zen Comes \Vest THE PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ZEN BUDDHISM IN BRITAIN CHRISTMAS HUMPHREYS Ruskin House GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD MUSEUM STREET LONDON .

FIRST This book is PUBLISHED IN 1960 copyright under the Berne Convention.. 1956. as permitted under the Copyright Act. research. no portion may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study. Company Limited Edmunds. Imprint type by East Midland Printing Bury St. Enquiries should be addressed to the Publishers Unwin Ltd. Peterborough. criticism or review. Kettering and elsewhere . 1960 George Allen & Printed in Great Britain in ii on 12 pt.

The snapshot was taken in the lounge of the Rembrandt Hotel. I 'write' Mrs Muriel my books I am grateful to many assistants. and I am grateful to its The purpose and scope Robins. 8. South Kensington in June 1958 by Miss Mihoko Okamura. for permission to reprint. Bedwell.PREFACE of this book are sufficiently described in the Introduction. Mrs Mary Anthony and Miss Peggy Kennett. the organ of the Buddhist Society. Chapters i. 2. Dr D. For retyping the atrocious typing in which Editor. . Suzuki. Alan Watts and myself. T. The Frontispiece is the only known photograph of the three persons most con- notably Miss Amy cerned in the subject of Zen comes West. London. 9 and 10 first appeared in The Middle Way.

.

CONTENTS PREFACE page 7 15 INTRODUCTION PART ONE: ZEN COMES WEST I ZEN BUDDHISM ZEN COMES WEST 21 II 28 III THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE 34 PART TWO! CLASS WORK IV PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY Letter i TO MR BRAMPTON. Zen is within. the Many. 59 . One call it what you will. 52 cannot be found with Thinking to the end of 53 Letter 3 thinking. . Then give whole time to Zen. Letter 4 TO RODNEY. Criticism preserves distinctions. The 'moving rock in a moving sea*. TO ZELNUK. and mine? A gets the teacher it deserves. 49 The tram49 Letter 9 2 TO MARTHA. not 'an additional does not 'find time for Zen\ Zen is. 55 56 Letter 6 in Class. lines of the intellect. which are all 'falsely imagined*. the One. Don't lean forward or backward or either side. Zen Thought forms. Non-duality. Why do we want Zen? Letter 8 TO MARY. The Zen teacher/pupil relationship. Zen activity . Letter 5 TO MISS MELLAND. How Thirty masks for thirty minds Class see through them. the Two. The injury caused by spiteful criticism. What will you pay for it? What you must drop. Zen know? none. TO BUNGY. If in love work through it. The enough 58 NOTHING. Tolerance of others' lives and loves and methods. 56 Goodness not Letter 7 TO MADAM for Enlightenment. thought.

and please Letter small things that annoy Loneliness. 62 Letter n TO MARY. bonds of thought. Zen TO MR TOLSON. Loneliness. What is satori? Letter 21 TO MARTHA. Psychic visions. The is not a system of Letter 14 teacher. Letter 20 Its true uses. Letter 18 Zen. Letter 13 thought. First beginnings and ultimate ends. 88 90 10 . Psychic faculties. How prove that satori not merely subjective? Proof and the intuition. The God and 73 Letter 19 TO SILVER. 64 66 67 12 TO ZELNUK. Pain inevitable. Patience. On happiness and being unhappy. The Zen Masters. No 'advanced stuff' too soon. Peeps at the high peaks. Letter 22TOSILVER. TO RODNEY. THE WAY OPENS proceed. Look at what you see. Mahatmas of India and 75 TO BRAMPTON. Sterility of concepts. TO MR GUNTHER. Letter 10 TO MARTHA. Cutting 71 relation of TO RAMPTON. Letter 24TOBUNGY. new channels of thought. Letter 27 TO SALLY. The mixture of types in the Class. Escaping from. What do you want? Who wants it? Why? How will you find it? Letter 26 TO MARY. How best to My Dharma. 83 85 85 Letter 25 TO THE ZEN CLASS. Taming the animal. Listen to what you hear. Study will not lead to Zen. The Bodhisattva and compassion. 77 78 80 81 Zen is Non-duality. high role of the 68 Letter 15 blind.ZEN COMES WEST Letter 9 TO SILVER. How to help a friend going 69 Letter 16 is TO BRAMPTON. present bodies. The us. The need and uses of discipline. Letter 23 TO MARY. Direct action. The need to be unhappy. Page 61 Devas and fairies. 'What Our is Zen?\ What 71 Life? Letter 17 TO SILVER.

104 105 106 Letter 42 in Class. Don't attempt to define the indefinable. 97 98 Letter 35 TO MR CRASHAW. 92 93 Happiness. 107 108 Letter 45 TO SALLY. TO LETCHWORTH. The Guru-chela TO SILVER. Intuition. the Letter 38 TO one SELF. The ideal teacher. The self- cycle of inspiration. . Motive. praise. True co-operation. 94 will pass. contentment and joy. 96 TO SILVER. Members must be allowed to own methods. Zen is not about anything. infinitely subtle 'Slick cleverness* The Middle Way. right and wrong. Spiritualism. Letter 30 TO MARTHA. Value of laughter. 95 Letter 33 Clinging 9 frivolous verses on 'the Goose is out Letter 34 decide TO BUNGY. entity . Letter 36 TO BUNGY. Tolerance and intolerance. Letter 41 TO SALLY. Depression unhappiness. What must be dropped. None is 'authority*. Letter 39 MARY. relationship compared with Zen master and pupil. thought and emotion. Appraisal versus to . 'Drop it Barriers on the way. Value ii of ritual in Zen monasteries. The Atman and the 103 TO BILLY. 106 Letter 43 TO SILVER. The Western psychiatrist and patient. one's balance. Facing situations 91 Letter 29 TO SILVER. Damage to mediums The psychic graveyard of the 101 Self. Direct Action. * 9 100 and departed seance room. Can the intuition flood the emotions as it does the intellect? Letter 31 TO MARY. Advice on books to study which rouse the intuition. Letter 32 artist's TO SALLY. Letter 40 TO RODNEY. .CONTENTS Page Letter 28 TO THE ZEN CLASS. Letter 37 Intuitive inspiration versus spiritualist visions. of independence. 9 Letter 44 TO BRAMPTON. Criticism of teacher may be a good sign. What has Zen that Western mystics have not got? The answer. directly.

Letter 57 TO MARY. Folly of fear. On losing one's friends. All 118 Letter 53 ceiling. Is a trained intellect needed for Zen? Progress seen and unseen. 'Tired of Zen\ Impossible. We must teach what we learn. 130 Letter 62 TO MARY. Good and bad psychiatrists. Right use of possessions. TO MRS WELLING. Coping with intruding thoughts quickly. suffering is sufferers need our Letter help. 14 Letter 49 TO MARTHA. Their superior attitude to spiritual experience. Duty and riches. True progress that brain may not know. Vulnerability. CLASS. 112 NOTES FROM A TALK TO THE ZEN 113 1 CLASS. Their own concrete 119 Letter 54 TO BUNGY. Letter 50 NOTES FROM A TALK TO THE ZEN CLASS. 120 Buddhism and Western psychology. All that happens happens Acceptance versus indifference. Zen and morality. The law of Karma. 'The price of peace self. Mountains and Letter 47 complicated The great are simple-minded. Criterion of morality. Peace and is war. Eastern approach to Truth. Letter 48 TO RODNEY. 115 A good sign. right. Psychologists. Fresh troubles inevitable for all who attempt inner development. 124 126 127 128 Letter 58 TO MARTHA. 122 123 Letter 56 TO RODNEY. Page 'too 9 . deserved. All sins. Letter 60 TO MR WILMINGTON. troubles are 'fair*. 132 . Letter 55 TO CAPLAN. All TO BUNGY. Letter 61 NOTES FROM A TALK TO THE ZEN 9 . Be We the Self and forget your self and others should meet as Selves of one SELF. Keeping the higher mind unsullied by circumstance. We 117 from our 52 not for them.ZEN COMES WEST Letter 46 TO MARY* Life cannot be trees. The 'Three fires' and the Zen life. Letter 59 TO BRAMPTON. The war within. Non-attachment. The limits of logic. 116 Letter 51 suffer TO BILLY. as they arise.

Solving a problem. Everything is right. There must 134 be tension in a bi-polar field. When concepts 'blend and 167 168 Letter 81 reading. 143 158 158 160 Self-analysis can be over- Letter 74 done. Suffering. Preparing the mind to cope. An exercise in fusing the opposites. 69 TO MARTHA. y Face'. On feeling hurt. 135 Letter 66 NOTES FROM A TALK TO THE ZEN the CLASS. jections. Self and Com- passion. 78TOMRSWILMER. On seeing straight. Zen logic of 'A is not. TO SILVER. 'Getting tired'. Use of advice. Letter 70 TO CRASHAW. Letter 67 Letter 68 Letter TO BUNGY.A Why God created the universe. TO CLARENCE. Facing shadow. All are mind-made as such. We must teach what we learn. Zen and the School of Zen. Letter 73 TO MARTHA. The reservoir created. Letter 71 TO THE ZEN CLASS. One's 'Original Letter 9 . The necessity of paradox. Page time for Zen\ You 133 have time Letter 64 Letter 65 TO MARY. Acquiring merit. Never stop. Gradual and sudden ' Enlightenment. Addressing the situation. 164 Letter centre. TO SILVER. How to relax. TO SALLY. 163 77 TO BRAMPTON. Withdrawing pro136 138 138 139 139 141 The withdrawal within. On 13 seeing straight. The change of the inner 166 Letter 79 Letter 80 blur\ TO SILVER. Ceasing to lean. 'More all the time. TO BUNGY. Letter 76 TO 162 MARY. 161 Letter 75 TO RODNEY. The Absolute and the One. Right 169 . VI VII CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION THE APPROACH TO ZEN Letter 72 TO MRS MANFIELD. the Two the Three.CONTENTS Letter 63 TO RODNEY. On walking on.

The Class and its teacher. 171 The Ultimate PART THREE: EXPERIMENTS IN ZEN VIII EXPERIMENT IN ZEN 177 IX FURTHER EXPERIMENT IN ZEN THIRD EXPERIMENT IN ZEN SURVEY AND PROPHECY 184 IQI X XI 199 . The ultimate affirmation Yesl Page 170 Why no koans given. Why no talk of Ultimates. 83TOTHECLASS.ZEN COMES WEST Letter 82 Letter TO MARY. is.

hard on the heels of his companion volume The Way of Zen. about two hundred years later. as it were. produced The Goose is Out. where it is flourishing came West in 1927. the stage was set for the sudden outburst of Zen which has been a feature of the last there was ample material own Zen Buddhism appeared in 1949. the first major attempt by a Westerner to write on the subject. We just felt the need to think more wholly. and consolidated as a new School by the 6th Patriarch. In 1930 a Meditation Circle was founded in spiritual the Buddhist Society. and as time went on it became more and more interested in Zen. Dr Suzuki. paid two visits to London. and Benoit's The Supreme Doctrine in 1951. and during the summer Dr Suzuki spent much time with the Zen Class. and visited the Society. as a prelude to moving that much nearer to going beyond thought. on my return from the East in 1946. After the war there was a great expansion of interest in Buddhism. a member of the Society who had settled in South Africa. first series of Essays in Zen Buddhism. In 1957 W. spending much time with the Zen Class at the Society. Others of this great author's works appeared thereafter in rapid succession. with the publication of Dr D. the first description of Zen being practised. J.D. Gabb. In 1936 Dr Suzuki gave his famous talk at the opening meeting of the World Congress of Faiths. I was able to use a large sum given me by the Buddhists of Burma for the publication of hitherto unknown Buddhist texts. and in the same year Alan Watts produced his Spirit of Zen. by a European. still less of a Master being available to help us in our studies. But still there was no question of Zen training.INTRODUCTION Zen Buddhism was founded by Bodhidharma in China in the 6th century A. and when. Hui-neng. and soon direct path to first for the study of this unique school of endeavour. It Suzuki's Enlightenment passed to Japan. ten years in England. T. In due course this today. In 1953 appeared the English edition of My Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery. In 1958 Alan Watts returned to London after twenty years' absence. He was impressed with the need of sending . in 1953 and 1954.

But whither? What follows is material on which the reader may base his own reply. and received from a member in France the protest which launched the correspondence which appears as part of Chapter III. After a brief chapter on Zen Buddhism and the components of the problem. and some months to help their Group in its Mrs Ruth Sasaki was one of the was her visit to England in the autumn of 1958 which drew our attention to the fact of the present crisis. who for thirty years sponsored and helped Western students to see something of Zen in Japan. and thereafter toured the Continent and refounded the Class on more formal Zen lines. Zen Master. Professor Sohaku Ogata. but I have then given at some length the way in which the Zen Class 16 . such help has come. and the limits were narrow indeed. the American Zen Institute. it is the pioneer in a 'trackless waste'. And still the books rolled out. although our 'opposite number' in New York. I have given the views of Mrs Sasaki and my ensuing correspondence with a friend in France. Meanwhile the Zen Class bears a heavy responsibility. 1958. So much for theory. No Miura for two visits of studies. I summarised her views. the journal of the Buddhist Society for November. They are told that there is the first a Separate 'Beginners' Class' for those approaching Zen for time. secured the services of the Ven. and as the pioneer group we must bravely lead the way. The interest is indeed growing and growing fast. Her views on the limits of Western work on Zen in the absence of a Master were clear. Robert Linssen's Living Zen and Wei-Wu-Wei's Fingers Pointing Towards the Moon all appearing in the spring of 1959. a qualified to give some substantial time to the needs of Europe. For the question it has to face is no less than this What can be done towards Zen is experience in the absence of a trained teacher? That the need for well as theory Zen teaching in practice as urgent and growing is now clear. So what should the Zen Class of the Society do? Candidates pour in and apply for admission to the Class. and our own. in the Middle Way. Of this Zen Institute it leading members. and Dr Suzuki promised to do what he could on his return to Japan to find a Roshi. came as the guest of the Society to its 1957 Summer School. Professor Ogata's Zen for the West. As the only organised group in Europe working on a system of training designed to lead towards Zen experience.2EN COMES WEST us the expert teacher which our efforts seemed to deserve.

I have to a small extent graded them from simple to more advanced in theme or treatment. partly in colla- most part in copy whose names I have changed. but for the letters to tomorrow. The rest is for the reader. I have tried to summarise the situation to date and to estimate the affect of Zen study and practice on the Europe of tions of notes of Talks to the Class. Finally. interpolating a section on Concentration and Meditation where it seemed to fit in. These are the members' attempts to express their own experience. and problems and aspects of Zen teaching as they arise. B 17 . about themes members. as it simplified the compilation of the book to keep one theme to a letter. Hence the anonymity. partly in periodic letters to the Class from me. which are made up from the actual answers of the members to sets of questions given them to answer in writing. but the material is genuine. I have then added three articles reprinted from The Middle Way. the incompetent but blindly courageous leader of the blind. Not all the letters are as written.INTRODUCTION works. as written for no one but myself to see.

.

Part One ZEN COMES WEST .

.

it is easy to give a totally wrong impression. and the history and technique of the school of Zen. and believe that every man should work out his own salvation with diligence in the fields. These strange. own the Buddhist field. and even more disliked the Sangha. from the original teaching. is to confuse the finger which points at the moon with the moon at which it points. and much of the finest culture of China and Japan. As a force it is responsible for the greatest art of China. provocative methods of speech and behaviour occur. both of Zen and the school which seeks it. and finally reached China. and with it some of the world's greatest philosophers. as witty nonsense or paradox gone mad. it is true. we find that not long after the Buddha's passing the exuberant Indian mind developed. . earth-minded race. It has produced in those countries some of their greatest minds. It uses all scriptures and is bound by none.CHAPTER I ZEN BUDDHISM The School of Zen Buddhism may be viewed as part of the Mahayana school or entirely on its own. they are not of its substance. which is to awaken the pupil's mind to its enlightenment. But the Chinese were not impressed with this wordy statement of Reality. The Chinese are a practical. and likewise uses any technique or means (upaya) which serves its end. This new philosophy went further East. Yet when describing Zen. In India. because its members begged for food and did no work in the fields. whatever its genesis or place in the Buddit is unique in the long record of religious history. Yet the history of Zen may help to convey its nature and place in hist field. But. a magnificent range of brilliant and profound thought. To regard it as 'fun and games'. in the course of transmission of Zen. where Buddhism was born.

What in the Indian mind was best expressed in numerous volumes was. and Chinese influence served to produce a reversion to its original. and in due course travelled to China. whether true or not. in China. He became one of the most advanced thinkers of his day. with more or less excuse. by Bodhidharma. It follows that to drag from their grandiloquent 22 . Sire*. the Emperor began to boast of his many achievements for his people. that Buddhism is Buddh-ism.D. compressed into a single sentence. Indian philosophy spoke at length of the Absolute. from the one supreme experience which raised a man to Buddhahood. He said: 'I have built many temples and monasteries. and Zen has been rightly described as China's reaction to Indian Buddhism. 'is the One word to the realm of super-consciousness any kind. direct simplicity. When he arrived. enquired: 'What is to be considered the first principle of the Dharma?' Bodhidharma replied: 'Vast Emptiness and nothing holy therein. and hence of the transmission of experience. the 'ism' or school of Buddh. I have copied the sacred books. who was born of noble family in South India. was in this way lifted from the plane of the intellect 'What'. The interview was most unusual.' Asked the Emperor. After the usual ceremony of the ancient Chinese Court. and he was invited to visit the Emperor of that day. In China it was expressed thus : of Reality'? Answer: 'You make it two'. taken aback. not unreasonably: 'Who. or is it the record of His actual Enlightenment? The answer is obvious. which lies beyond concepts of The ebullience of Indian thought was thus from the Zen point of view a decline from the spiritual heights at which the Buddha taught. The mode of expression. is it who stands before me?* *I have no idea' said Bodhidharma. Is Buddhism a school of thought erected about the teaching of the Buddha. Now what is my merit?' Bodhidharma replied: 'None whatever. All else now known as Buddhism has developed. The Emperor. is an epigrammatic way of describing this tremendous teacher's original views on Buddhism. the Buddha's Awakening.ZEN COMES WEST This resistance was broken down in the 7th century A. That. his reputation had preceded him. asked a pupil. then.

. But if we begin to climb. and now. Bodhidharma is said to have laid downpour propositions of ZenT^A^pecial transmission outside the upon words direct pumting to the Mind Scriptures no .ZEN BUDDHISM heights the speculations of Indian philosophy was a move in the right direction. and therefore Zen. with diligence'. Where I have trodden and develop the will to achieve success we shall at least be ready to climb. Let us begin. There is no lift up this mountain. dejJ^^ence . whatever is now in hand. our vision will expand. in our chairs. the School of Zen is nearer than any other and has the most right to be called the School of Buddha's Enlightenment. Anything less is less than Zen. 52tJ25?i a*}d his teaching. ^ all may tread. It is the Buddha's tHe Buddha's spiritual achievement attained as the guerdon of a thousand lives completely dedicated to that end. study the way on maps (prepared by previous climbers). we are on the way. But are we? Are we even in training for the climb? If we go into training. with this.' That is clear enough. It follows that to know what is Buddhism. begin at the top. Perhaps we think that. one must achieve the Buddha's experience. a sP3hJaS^^ the usual Buddhist way. learn the technique of climbing. If so. then. We are now on the valley floor. We know. but we shall not know the nature of the summit until we get there. It is equally reasonable to speak oF steps on the long path up the mountain to self-enlightenment. The Buddha was J^ } aBz. as most of us do stay. for the Buddha has told us. The answer is simple. the 'sudden* wayTis Zen. to climb. If we climb a little higher we shall see still more. If you want to climb a mountain. but if we stay in our chairs and discuss the thoughts of others about the way. we shall see more of the sunlight and more of the way. what we shall find upon the way. and is made the simpler by the maddening logic of Zen. at least into the foothills. That is reasonable. seeing into Se^s own nature and the attainment of Buddhahood. Work out your own salvation.wwas plain. the ' second. to the Light. The rest is a process of the mind's expansion until consciousness becomes commensurate at will with that which lies beyond imagining. having news of the summit. we shall stay. The process of Enlightenment begins here. of men.

and each of them direct. they appear in nonsense. makes life tick. It is the centre of a circle whose circumference is everywhere. but in Zen the straight and narrow way folds up to a point and the point is nowhere to be found. the office and the lavatory. that is so. using his instruments of sense. In the West we abide by logic. and the mind is equally with us in the temple. seeks the One but seeks it differently. and will therefore appear in our daily chores as frequently and brightly as in meditation under a tree. Always in life the moments that matter are where thought ends. In the East the approach is not in a straight line. The process lies in the mind. is illusion. 'Usual life is very Tao'. . and all other means which enable a man to grasp the Absolute. the instrument of the thinking mind. and the whole of circumstance is the field wherein to become aware of our own inherent bliss. of argument. In terms of philosophy. for Zen is the Many and the One. Truth. as a burst of laughter over a cup of tea. The approach to Zen is total. using the whole man. the pilgrim treads a Middle Way between all extremes. in peculiar robes or peculiar positions. And why? Because satori. and even then when all distinction of holy and unholy. said a Master of Zen. In terms of psychology. So be it. like mysticism and pure philosophy. a circle whose centre is nowhere it lives in the 'one thought-moment* beyond space and time. But the usual life in which Zen shines is most unusual. and Zen would not be Zen. and all things shall be added unto you'? The journey. the change from this to that. Kingdom of Heaven. It will not alone be found . the Self which knows is born on the margin of the conscious and unconscious. 'The Many returns to the One. this follows*. but to what does the One return?' What would the mystics say to that? Zen goes into the One and out of it. For Zen. emotion. or 'daily life' is out of the field of Zen. Zen and not-Zen 24 is destroyed. as lightning in sunlight. to be utterly absorbed and known must be grasped by the whole man. and thereafter as it grows absorbs both equally. but from every point of view at once. 'This being so. that being so. the living experience which transcends the distinctions of the mind. the flash of enlightening. happens in the mind. thought and intuition. Only in our selfwrought circumstance will Zen appear. in modern parlance.ZEN COMES WEST But is this 'Seek ye first the advice so strange to Western ears? Did not Jesus say. It must be found if at all in daily life. Only the Here is real and the Here is Now and This. For Zen is that which.

none. It is a rapid questionanswer. into slothful inactivity. just anything is used and justified which raises the pupil's mind above duality. insanity and death. for there is the Japanese corruption of the Sanskrit term 25 . It may be a smile. then. but with it as it sings and ripples and flows. The Japanese Rinzai school makes much use of the koan. 'Two hands make a sound of clapping. an absolute 'no' or 'not. detective-stories. so long as we learn from the effects of what delights in it. intellect. So they run from life while Zen parts of it. the answer is always nonsense to the yet it is put in deadly earnest. not at it. The most famous of all is The ways . to the absolute awareness which transcends it. dreams. or Zen? we are. still less from Zen. no meaning. unremitting concentration on some such koan as. a gesture. and probably more violently. all we do. silence or a blow. The limitation of all concept. must be utterly broken before the pupil say. Anything. a kind of shorthand conversation between the pupil and the Master's highly trained and illumined mind. a word or phrase which has no sense. They escape into pleasure. How do we of approach to Zen are infinite they are not confined to Japan. it involves what Jung calls the withdrawal There must be no running away from life. What is the sound of one?' The mondo is nearly as meaningless to our concept-ridden minds. into concepts that are a substitute for reality. They know that they are afraid but fear to face the cause of it. moodiness. Zen? Your answer is The word is as good as mine. misses the point the Master tries again. matter who or what we are. hobbies. They run away into illness. and to break through The question may sound foolish. is helped to smash the limitations of thought. still less does it in Zen it does not matter what we do. and there may be in time a Western school of Zen. the thing they fear. for that implies It follows that duality. Yet men attempt to escape in many ways. 'I know'.ZEN BUDDHISM The process of finding of projections. If the pupil to the absolute point of view. which is in turn the consequence of what react to circumstance? With fear. Why? Because they fear the Reality they loudly claim to seek. superstition.' At this moment in Japan there are probably ten thousand bonzes or monks in fierce. phantasy. which of its nature works by comcan genuinely parison. by which the pupil 'mu'. and laughs. Psychologists say that many of their patients' troubles arise from 'refused fear'. is What.

It is to be found in the right posting of a letter or washing up. being all. is in the here and now. and we on either bank shout loudly that the other is wrong. said the Master. nor ugliness where all is Beautiful. who suffers hurt from things? When hate and lust and illusion die in the mind from want of fuelling. we fear to live who fear to flow. If 26 . and in that Now all is and all is right. vaguely translated as meditation. uphill or down. 'I do not understand Buddhism*. Asked. We cling to the banks who fear the flowing. none conceal it. Such men have vision in their eyes. what is Buddhism. said the Master. Nor can a man see Zen or handle it. a Master replied by taking the pupil for a walk in the woods. They came to a bush of wild laurel in bloom. Zen is in laughter It refuses nothing. compassion in their every act. then. Why should he? Is not the dawn and the singing of a bird. bring it along'. and the taste of tea and the touch of jade the direct experience of Reality? If not. 'You think I am concealing something from you. and song and immediate acceptance. There is the essence of Buddhism*. Asked by a pupil to reveal the essence of Buddhism. and in their certainty show forth Not pausing to argue or define they just walk on unceasingly into error and out of it. He who accepts the moment finds the eternal moment. None can reveal it. To know it while on earth is the supreme paradox and the supreme act of truth. In the world of illusion we live by the laws and the moral codes of men. the mind of the Zen-illumined is free. not only of the bonds of love and hate and thinking but even of the notion that the mind is free. for it is that which lies behind manifestation. When self is not. what is there left but laughter and understanding. what is? Zen is the flow of the river. a Master replied.ZEN COMES WEST Dhyana. and a gentle walking on? Zen. 'How when brings nothing with him?' asked a pupil. They know. as so many cages in which the flow of life is foolishly confined. and the right doing of this. It knows no good or evil for all is Good. and is therefore to us the Absolute. 'Throw it away'. There'. Above the dualities invented by men's minds is the absolute 'right' which in our hearts we know but which in our brains is clouded with opinion. Zen lives in facts and hates abstractions. and over a precipice if that is the forward way. It therefore hates all man concepts. Its meaning is the meaning of all life. 'What shall I throw when I am not burdened a at all?' 'If so. the heart's serenity.

is it will not be found. in dying. And also by the self-enlightened man. In the West they become our masters. but there no path. that freedom when the self. an awareness shared by the poet. the conscious with the unconscious mind. or the act of reunion of the part with the whole.ZEN BUDDHISM not. Thoughts should be servants. You say that this is nonsense. 'Walk on'. the lover and the child. So it is. Zen is the act of walking on. 27 . 'Who puts you under restraint?' Was the Buddha's Enlightenment merely splendid thinking. but it is super sense. The intellect is a brilliant tool. the Master replied. no walker and no goal. and bind us on our sojourning. learns that it is free? Asked 'What is Zen?' a Master replied. but when the river is crossed the raft is left behind. Asked by a pupil to set him free.

Its starting point is the vaunted 'scientific' approach to phenomena. which are very different in form. whether objective . nor will its Zen be will entirely the Zen Buddhism of Japan. or of China or Tibet. that of the East than those of Ceylon be still more different from and Tibet. and become an integral part of Western thought. the Prajnaparamita philosophy is being taken up under the lectures and writings of Dr Edward Conze. the movement is now too deeply rooted to wither from want of attention or be killed by its inevitable foes. It has moved far from being one of a hundred alien and peculiar beliefs studied by a few enthusiasts. are from each other.CHAPTER II ZEN COMES WEST Western Buddhism stands it at the cross-roads. Tibetan ritual is active in parts of Europe. 'Western Buddhism' has passed from the condition of an idle phrase. as Lily Abegg proves in The Mind of East Asia. and it means that the Buddhism of Europe will not be the Buddhism of Ceylon. Theravada study and practice is to be found in many of the European countries. for example. and is becoming a visible fact. Some of its Schools are well established. total and intuitive that of the West is analytic/synthetic and mainly intellectual. and now Zen has become so popular that it is in danger of becoming a cult. But the Buddhism of the West 28 . From such a position it must needs go forward. The Eastern approach to Truth is. Whether there should be such a thing is beside the point. it is born and it is growing. In popular parlance has reached the point of no-return.

Only in this way will they become the product and expression of our own minds. But we shall not import these goods and leave them permanently foreign. with Indian Buddhism as to Japan. French fashions and American films. Now the Japanese offer the West its history. . doctrine. and thus a useful set of 'devices' to enable us to find and express 'our' Zen. The same applies to Zen. These we have imported through the books of Dr D. which is only 'the way laid down by the man that his action may be the true expression of his nature'. 1 The Secret of the Golden Flower. and be none the less Buddhism for being Western. it believes in believing nothing until it must. that it may be splendid but will not be Zen? The answer will depend on our power to achieve it for what it is. its theory and doctrine. whose name is all but coterminous with Zen as known and practised in the West. T. The aim of Zen Buddhism is the direct approach to Non-Duality. in spiritual affairs 'everything depends on the man and little or nothing on the method'. that as we shall find it. absorb their spirit and then reclothe them in our own idiom of thought and practice. It passed associated with the culture which it built among that highly cultured people. digest them. and its records of achievement. All else is secondary. as Chinese restaurants. from visible material to intellectual hypotheses. for in this way it is not grafted on to the individual unconscious so as to present a vital and natural growth. It follows that a definitely Western Buddhism must in time emerge. Zen Buddhism was born in China of Bodhidharma and Tao.ZEN COMES WEST or in the mind. 97. though we shall not lightly discard a method which has served the millions of the East for fifteen hundred years. Suzuki. and is its now reincarnating 'source-material'. and every kind of ritual. But as the great writer points out in the same 1 volume. It is true that Carl Jung and others have stressed the folly of the West attempting to import the spiritual technique of the East by the process of intellectual adoption. if not by Oriental technique then by something more appropriate. Rather we shall receive them. p. test them. its practice in monasteries and in daily life. It moves from the particular to the general. study them. including morality. we lose the thing we want in making Western clothes Or shall is. Zen for it? Will Zen in the West be so intellectualised. and nothing less. not only in the approach to it but the thing when found.

It also rules out Alan Watts' Spirit of Zen and his new book. he has spoken to the world. and he would not claim to stand beside him. The Way of Zen. Sanskrit and Pali. what is Reality? For thirty years. the one by Dr Suzuki and the other by Alan Watts. can yet say. Chinese. in 1927 to this latest collection of essays in 1957. Herrigel alone. and those still locked in the cage of concept. and see that A is at the same time Not. Allen & Unwin. both East and West. they seem to say. 1957. there are roshis in Japan who. else presents the Japanese way of Zen? Professor Sohaku Who Ogata has written Zen for the West on the strength of two years' work in the USA and three months in Europe. a leader from the Unreal to the Real that dwells in the Unreal. Yet. then. write usefully on Zen who has not studied long 1 in a Zen monastery? No words Mysticism^ Christian and Buddhist. with enormous knowledge of Buddhism in Japanese. and the difference is well set out in two recent books on If 1 Zen. as far as any man in modern times has done so. But for him Dr Suzuki is the Master. He truly is a living bridge from the Absolute to the Relative.ZEN COMES WEST some in the West. Is there any other who. He is unique and likely to remain so. Only from him can we take the logic of No-logic. are to be pitied for their chains. and a knowledge of Western thought in several languages. Meanwhile the Eastern and Western approach to the same goal is different. from Essays in Zen Buddhism. There are other scholar-philosophers with a knowledge of Zen Buddhism. Thames and Hudson. who cannot see him so. have yet achieved a first- hand experience of Reality. Those dissatisfied can seek or create their own. Benoit's The Supreme Doctrine. This rules out my own Zen Buddhism. 3 . But it is not fair to take Dr Suzuki's books as a sample of Eastern writing on Zen. Series /. his magnum opus on the subject. find the Japanese technique a way which aptly expresses their own search for Reality. The Way of Zen. in his Zen in the Art of Archery has caught the spirit of Zen. let them use it. these Eastern teachers alike criticise the West for being too intellectual. but then he learnt it from a Master of Zen in Japan. writing nothing. with the training of a philosopher. therefore. Can nobody. 1958.A. one whose very presence takes one further on the way. and Robert Linssen's Living Zen. from the plane of Prajna. with all the unclaimed authority of one who knows.

cannot we too? True. soul and spirit. 'personal experience is the foundation of Buddhist philosophy. as lightning is a concrete fact. which is 'seeing'. Clearly the intuition is needed to achieve Prajna. why God the sole School in which such mystical experience is not only taught. his enthusiastic adoption of Eckhart as not only the greatest of Western mystics but one who in his own terminology was talking Zen. a fellow enthusiast. What 'self acquires St Paul spoke of body. These are of the field of action in which the West excels. as Dr Suzuki frequently created the Universe. yet so in a way is experience. it must come out of his experience'. If Eckhart. and pupils are trained in turn to teach. that He might know a German. He quotes Ananda Coomaraswamy. Himself. but even a Japanese roshi uses them. but then Zen Buddhism is unique in this. In the very first chapter of Mysticism. we must examine and develop this faculty of direct cognition. Thus we in the West must ask and ask. seeing things in their state of suchness or 'isness'. describes. not by borrowing but because of 'the coherence of the metaphysical tradition in the world at all times'. of the indescribable Absolute and its manifestations. 'Whatever knowledge the philosopher may have. Christian and Buddhist. that we may learn that the intellect alone will not answer. and then use it to attain what thought can never know. that it is And Buddhist philosophy is again unique in that it is based on the Buddha's personal experience. .ZEN COMES WEST can express the discovery of Zen. and if the West is more thoughtfully than intuitively inclined we must find a technique which begins with thought and then by and finer thought transcends it. Eckhart left no pupils. on finer Eckhart's 'astonishingly close parallel to Indian modes of thought'. Eckhart knew the distinction of the first Godhead from God. Dr Suzuki sets out what he has long disclosed in many of his works. then. and the function of the intellect consists in leading the mind to a higher field of conscious- ness by proposing questions which are beyond itself. For 'Zen's first concern is about its experience and not its modes of expression'. for satori is not an abstract idea but a concrete it? fact. but the way to it is taught. and Western minds are paralysed by a system of education which does not recognise its existence. Very well. can so find. a term which Eckhart himself employs. In brief. He even described.

T am not in favour of "importing" Zen from the to him Far East. 'self-identified' or 'inter- and with the Absolute. and raises the eyes of the individual part to the Whole which is infinite. and the mind freed free. the absolute ego. being dissatisfied with any existing is book on the subject. But there are things which we can learn. the Taoist he sets out to supply the deficiency. (p. know with the Indian source from which it emerged. as he brightly points out. but he still has the brilliant mind which gave us The Spirit of Zen at the age of nineteen. And Dr Suzuki. 'soul' and 'spirit' are fundamentally two. there is no alternative 3* . for it has become deeply involved with cultural institutions which are foreign to us.ZEN COMES WEST We the body. the ego after enlightenment-experience. to be found not in a heaven which is elsewhere. this equipment. the : from as its binding conditions (sankhara) is it is elucidated in the Nirvana Sutra. Enlightenment is seeing the absolute ego as reflected in the relative ego and acting through it*. sweeps aside though the tedium of the Theravada's views on self. 'To know what Zen is. In his and Indian background. eats the menu instead of the dinner. Preface he says. nor to have had any training under a roshi in the USA. of a better and worse self. being newly enlightened one knows that he is free. The denial of Atman as maintained by earlier Buddhists refers to Atman as the relative ego and not to the absolute ego. and especially what it is not. from it and apply in our own way*. So far we agree. re-unites the Dharma one. 47). in that none gives what essential. that though the early stages on the journey may be harder for Westerners than for their Eastern brothers on the Way. or unlearn. How then. of the one that must be slain that the other may know itself as it is. does Alan Watts' new book assist his fellow-Westerners to achieve the same 'experience'? He does not claim to have studied in Japan. Atman. but in the 'one moment' which is here and now and doing this. he says 'The gahakarika is our relative empirical ego. and he has diffused* with the All learnt enough Chinese With to read originals for himself. There is nothing here to negative my thesis. As he himself says. but I do not see the need for his suggested third position between the 'objective* observer of Zen who. the 'builder of the house' of self from which. Here is the world of our own experience. After speaking of the gahakarika. in a single paragraph. it is one way to one end. and the 'subjective' disciple who does not know what dinner is being eaten.

in its practice of Zen. to experiment with it in the concrete so as to meaning which underlies the words'. (As the walk just walk. But you don't wobble'). To sum up can my yet uncertain thoughts urgent subject. What do our readers say? 33 . by medi- tation. There need be no fear of our entanglement in the 'institutions' of Zen Buddhism. How to attain compared the experience without a visit to Japan? The answer is by study of the background of Buddhism and the history of Zen. But this can it. until our own roshis have emerged and been given the 'seal of transmission'. is unimportant with the achievement of the experience. but there is I 'If am no need Master he proposes. West. and yet unsolved. the West needs Zen and Japan has must have Zen without its Japanese clothing as clothing can be made for it. But if the for the 'friendly neutral position* Ummon said. unless the fear is of becoming impaled on the finger instead of looking at the moon. regular and deep. that they in turn may train their pupils to that same high office and responsibility. and would refer to the second suggested Western approach to Zen. The problem is urgent. of the power of the intuition. if I is prepared to create its own institutions the trouble will not arise. by all 'devices' possible. by the deliberate cultivation. only be done from 'inside* with the full enthusiasm of a mind bent When he wishes to add some measure of the objective step of Western viewpoint my own with him. and by having in Europe from time to time such help from Japan as we need.ZEN COMES WEST but to practise discover the to that end. If you sit. But the clothing on a vast and But the West soon as Western it. just sit.

As a climax. persuaded the governing body of Daitoku-ji. by making her not only a member of the Order. has now once more returned to Japan. however. Mrs Sasaki was honoured as no Westerner has ever been honoured before.CHAPTER III THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE In the August issue of the Middle Way we included a brief note of the great honour done by the Zen Buddhists of Japan to Mrs Ruth Sasaki. Then Mrs Sasaki. to rebuild a very old but ruined sub -temple in its enormous grounds. Their efforts were rewarded by two visits from Miura Roshi who. after referring to the foundation of the First Zen Institute. On her way from Japan to New York for a visit Mrs Sasaki called in at London and spent much of her short five days for the 34 . In October Mrs Sasaki paid an too brief London and of course visited the Zen Class at the Society's headquarters. the widow of the Japanese Roshi. I continued. 'This was the pioneer group of Westerners to study and attempt to practise Zen in self-preparation coming of a qualified Roshi from Japan. I recorded the visit in a brief article in the November issue in which. and it was clear that some of these did not accord with our own. but a 'Head Priest' or 'Chief Monk' of the newly rebuilt sub-temple. around whose teaching to a group of students in New York the First Zen Institute of all America was visit to built up. and to use it as a training school for Western students of Zen. There she was pressed for her views on 'Zen for the West'. after years of negotiation and preparation. and as such ranking with the others of that title throughout the monastery. one of the largest Rinzai Zen monasteries in Kyoto. Sokei-an Sasaki.

if need be for years. an Irishman living in France. and has no meaning outside that context. and our correspondence was carried on through the winter of 1958-9. But for some time at least it is an excellent practice. history of all All that she has to say. So we shall carry on in our way. therefore though opinions she says to our following notes after her departure. this is all that Western students. So far I for one agree. No one should attempt koan practice without a master. She has enormous knowledge of present day Japanese Buddhism. for the strain is considerable. in her view. and in and present position of Rinzai Zen. though others may not agree with my understanding of what she said or its interpretation. The sole way to achieve Zen experience is by long training at the feet of qualified Zen masters. No one should attempt Zen work who is not emotionally the and intellectually well balanced. grateful for Mrs Sasaki's stimu- my views in the Middle Way from a subscriber who is an old was a fiercely worded protest friend of my generation. The basis of Zen progress is a sound understanding of the origin and history of the school. and leave our American friends to continue with theirs. For myself. particular of the origin. She attended a meeting of the Zen class and a tea and dinner party at our home. But Mrs Sasaki further holds that the beginning of Zen meditation should be counting the breaths. is worse than a waste of time. In result of this expression of One 35 . Zen is the product of an historical Zen tradition. and the best for all beginners. kept so far as possible at intuitive level. At present this means in Japan and in the Japanese language. may rightly differ as to the applicability of what special conditions here. and that save for the study of recognised master's sermons or sayings. can usefully do together. considering carefully. Here the minor I respectfully disagree. in the absence of a Roshi.THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE with members of the Society. and a most careful study of the very specialised and technical terms used. I made the is well worth For Mrs Sasaki. lating Meanwhile we are deeply presence and advice. Discussion. and had talks with members persuasion in the field of Buddhism. of Buddhist principles in general and Zen scriptures in particular. while mere sitting and counting the breaths can itself become a cage for the mind which must learn to 'abide nowhere*. I find that Zen experiences do come as the result of such discussion.

or the ingerence of mescalin. condemned by all the enlightened masters who spoke from a state of satori. Their teaching was rooted in Taoism and Mahayana Buddhism. his opening letter the reference to p. spiritual stature as Vedanta Advaita. of boring a hole in the forehead with a bit-and-brace. whether that understanding be merely intellectual or intuitional. false identification What would Huang and the Hui Neng or the Maharshi have thought about such a technique for the abolition of the realisation of the real nature? What Zen may have become in modern Japan you know better than I. it is also is still available and 36 . but we all know what has become of the doctrine of Jesus and of the doctrine of Lao Tzu. a manipulation of the psyche. Without re-reading all Suzuki. But. Dear Toby. 106 of the Middle Way is to I for one agree'. on a par with the process. on the spiritual plane of those teachings. Way will serve as a text. You presumably know these principles and scriptures much better than I. What Mrs Sasaki describes is surely the exact opposite and Buddhist principles in general and Zen scriptures in particular on which her views are based? I am not going to write you an essay. attributed to some Tibetans. and of the same Po. enough are to be found in Alan Watts' chapter on the contradiction of the What Mrs Rise and Development of Zen. it is equally in contradiction with an understanding of what they sought to convey. if only if that is so. or in Hui Neng or in Huang Po. a similar experience. Not only is all this in direct contradiction with the plain words of these masters. 1958. Does anybody ever render you the service of holding up a mirror so that you may see a reflectio of your verbal visage when it appears to be having a pain? The first six words of the last paragraph on p. referred to in the preceding November 9. 106 of the current issue of the Middle Therein you categorically accept what appears to be one of the most fantastic statements ever made on the subject of Zen. Sasaki conceives to be Zen appears to be a purely disciplinary technique.ZEN COMES WEST the words 'So far paragraph. doctrine has survived and No doubt all the religions have had a fact that the pure practised.

vague Mind Itself cannot be sought by a manipulation of what identification . we in the its place. To this end a school with traditions and technique has been built up over 1500 achieved years and produced a large number of persons who have that experience. if Zen means anything their means. You surely understand the pure doctrine: it is simple enough and clear enough. we aim in the wrong direction. we have no Masters. his comment to Alan Watts in my presence was to the effect Tou have written and talked about Zen for a long time. 1958. and its truth is obvious enough. no school. and if. in great effort. as the masters said Chinese. 24. for me to give my reasons. In spite of the withering violence of your letter of the 9th. but in brief. I still hold to the same opinion. . Is it not the business of those who are in that position to urge these who it are not yet to keep their eye on the ball? To again me. no technique. and only as spontaneous to take inspiration waned did the koan and mondo technique begin have West become interested in Zen. that is and again in . Westerners and many years working in a Zen Monastery. We could no more find it for ourselves than a child in the first form of mathematics could split the mind. we have found that we learnt further in a few days round the feet of a Master than in months and years of working on our own. Now We no tradition. we do not know when we are aiming in the right direction. indeed. we go where 37 .THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE by a few. True. the atom. in the early days. merely a false November Dear Terence. therefore We have built this technique. Either or we import the Masters to teach us via the technique the Masters live. Masters taught their pupils without any particular technique. even if our burden of ignorance is still too heavy to allow us to break through completely and finally. why not come to Japan and find it?' more and advanced Certainly. 20 years of working among experience which covers. It would take a longer letter than I have time for. Suzuki said more or less the same thing and. What is worse. they are these : Satori is the result of a specific process of breaking through the bonds of conceptualism and its consequent duality. we may shatter humbly look to those who in 1500 years and I am impressed with Ruth Sasaki's up mark you.

In the result. Only thus can a Western tradition my be founded and a Western technique built up. Re-reading the carbon I see that it could appear so. Only thus can our minds approach No Mind. I am. even its history. appreciate your kind letter and lucid explanation. I 27. 1958. Yours sincerely. One was Herrigel. but I gather that the Zen pundits in Japan regard only two Westerners as having got anywhere yet in Zen. who spent years in Japan under a Master. November Dear Toby. and to the extent that we do get genuine 'experience* it is by the study of Suzuki's books. waiting we long to know of it. Everything about the Zen tradition helps to this end. in all departments of life. We are trying to learn. but if you have found some other way of progress. Do they like us daring 38 . we don't. arrogance. To imagine that we can do without it is. and the other is Ruth Sasaki. It is painfully easy to know a lot about Zen. but that is the I much am effect of my of normal emphasis face of the tiger ! lamentable style which seeks concision at the expense and the recipient cannot see the smile on the wondering if we sufficiently realise that nations who think hold a monopoly of a traditional doctrine always tend to regard they other nations who interest themselves in those doctrines with any degree of independence as heretics and worse? People who have lived in Japan have told me that in this respect the Japs are abI am normally sensitive. of whom the same applies. I therefore cling to opinion that Western students can only 'work out their own salvation with diligence' by humbly building on the experience of the East. Meanwhile. In practice. We learn this from books and write accordingly. my own Zen Group have attained in the last few years results comparable with the extent to which we attempted to tread in the footsteps of this tradition and technique. strenuous mental self-discipline and much meditation in one way or another. to me. any one of us can find Zen any day. but distressed that my letter appeared to be witheringly violent. humbly and ferociously for the answer.ZEN COMES WEST In theory.

yes. in the married to that of the Buddha or to what is attributed to him Diamond Sutra and the Lanka. and their penetration helped me even when I could not feel that they themselves had understood what they had explained to me. they spoke. Advaita Vedanta in general. I was struck by the apparent fact that nobody I knew it or read appeared to believe what those who were unquestionably awakened had told them from the Buddha himself down to the Maharshi or. you say. together with the Upanishads. What else am I doing? And appears to be quite new. And did he do anything but learn to use his organic consciousness? Was that the Complete and to think for ourselves? Shall Perfect Enlightenment of the Buddha? Are we not facing up to a complete and radical split? On the one hand the doctrine of Lao Tse. on the other. there is only 39 . above). It was quite long and arduous. wrote and acted as though they did not which meant that they thought like that and did not. and. understand. Evans-Wentz to my list . and that I had to understand it at all costs. but. elaborated by Chuang Tse. as Herrigel.THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE we ever get anywhere if we don't? he is the only one they like (as far as I know). in fact. and that you long to know of it. the systems and disciplinary techniques. Alan Watts (to mention some that you will know). of which the most important is modern Japanese Zen all so categorically condemned by the former? Is that not now happening under our eyes. he did it under their tuition. You ask me if I have found some other way of progress. elaborated by the Patriarchs and their successors down to and including Rinzai. and which describe the barrier between us and awakening to reality. such as Benoit. Some longish time ago I had an intuition. Now I am faced with the job of trying to tell you what these statements of the masters are. perhaps. So I started re-reading all the sages on the supposition that they really meant what they said. down to Maharshi and Atmananda today. (I should have added the learned Prof. manipulations of the psyche. but I was greatly helped by penetrating modern minds. But ultimately. alternatively. much better than my own. that nobody appears to take literally or really understand. which is synthetic. and the job of doing that without pages of quotation and disquisition. even under our hands? It is a situation to be understood. if they believed it. Of course I have. John Levy.

I can only point towards what I see.' We have all read that a dozen times? We have. a being. I can only point a finger by asking. for the others really follow from it if we have understood. nevertheless. but have we I believed it? People who answered questions in plainer language. . all the awakened have said it. And some of those who have seen that have. for we axe reality 40 . or a separated individor so one uality/ An omnibus edition that leaves no loop-hole would have thought! In Section VI. Again and again he tells us that the barrier is 'cherishing the idea of an ego-entity. but reality can enter and enlighten those objects of consciousness called Toby and Terence if they are in a state to receive us (not 'it' but 'us'. said the same thing. by every means they can hear of or devise? Discoursing is not in my line. more in our own way of speaking. he goes on to say. and who is there to grasp anything? and therefore cannot be an exSatori. ' uality . 'They will neither fall back to cherishing the idea of things as having intrinsic qualities. a being. 'How could an object of consciousness (and the ego-notion is nothing but that) be also a conscious object?' 'What could there be to grasp. or a separated individqualities.ZEN COMES WEST one. such as Huang Po and the Maharshi. is not in time And how could an object of consciousness "grasp" anyperience. So strong is the resistance. a personality. thing outside time?' But does anybody. Nirvana. not been able to believe what they themselves have demonstrated. or even of things as devoid of intrinsic Wherefore? Because if such men allowed their minds to and hold on to anything they would be cherishing the idea grasp of an ego-entity. . chasing their shadows. So I will quote the Diamond Sutra. We have read that also. The I-notion cannot seize reality. a personality. as often elsewhere. but those attributed to the Buddha are as clear as any. any school or sect do anything but strive and grasp. each in his own words. In Section XXII 'Through the Consummation of Incomparable : Enlightenment acquired not even the least thing. after saying that. but have we believed it? The reason we have not is surely that we have not been able to see how it not only can but must be so.

more 'mindful and self-possessed'. Students come to me for private interviews to say what may be they might not like to say in open class. or goal. but assuming we believe this to be true. Many thanks for yours of the ayth November. and though in some sense the thirty of them are treading thirty different paths to the same end. day by day Class to turn this belief into useful action. our attempt to understand each other? If not meant so. just because I too am so anxious that we shall understand one . literally. it seems Yours ever. able to cope with crises. logically.THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE and nothing empty* Yours. and day by day these people are beThe answer is. I It is 18. else whatever. I entirely agree with you in theory that the teachings of all the Masters agree that the enemy of all Enlightenment is self in the sense of an idea of a separate individuality. and nothing that anybody says to me will persuade me that that is not true. am delighted to have your reply. 1958. I think the trouble between you and me is always that you are too far into the world of theory and doctrine and maybe I am too far into the world of daily practice. This is the great heresy of self as described in The Voice of the Silence.) We have only to find that objects are December Dear Terence. But I find that it works and seems to be psychologically sound. serene. It is far too easy to say that there is no progress on any path. 1958. more consciously compassionate and aware of is no is self. in the sense that a man believes a thing when he behaves as if it were true? What I do in my laughable. philosophically and in terms of all theory. that there that there all else that lives. With all good wishes. still they are all progressing. what do we do. and terribly hard to tell myself and others how to do it. and I thank you sincerely. December Dear Toby. and through the lessening of the sense of self. large and small. coming more integrated. this help it is Does to be rude. 15. I have found it too easy to tell myself and the others what should be done.

comparatively few realize 43 . not nearly: he must know it.ZEN COMES WEST another that must be knowing what a burden a further job of work But my anxiety extends to all of us for I see gulfs widening. for you. most pupils . Are you not feeding the vampire rather than realizing that he isn't it anything therein? Huang Po thought many times 'for you cannot use the sufficiently mind there which would be enough? Satori. of the outstanding points in your letter is the query assuming that we believe that no self exists. the organic consciousness being the engine-driver. But I may not take quite at its face value. nor the Buddha to seek something from the Buddha' (14). rather than what the sages did? May you not be trying to reach the results of the sages by the methods of the saints? Are you sure you are not just working on what has been called the organic consciousness. and between Buddhism and Advaita. hardly Do you not think that though many of us understand that what we see as the perceptible universe is only an interpretation of chemical changes in a retina transferred by nerve-impulses to cause chemical changes in brain-matter. it heartily congratulate you on your success with your please don't think that I underrate it. When he knows adjustment will occur I all that believing not the re- by itself. in a positive sense only. non-spacial. what do we do to turn this belief into useful action in the sense that is One when a man it believes is he behaves accordingly. between English an4 continental Zen. can be an experience. non-dual reality which is the suchness of everything we perceive. And it may be because to me there is no doctrine but only an explanation that the differences between them make no impression whatever. and perhaps the engineer. I write. and can bear no recognisable relation to non-temporal. of our relative reality? It is difficult to believe in daily practice. Why? Because I cannot avoid asking whether you may not be perfecting the hansom cab? May you not be doing what the saints did. not being in time. because after all is progressing in each of your 30 prospective practices? and WHO WHO there to 'progress' except the reality of each? Can that progress? Is it not all in the sphere of relativity? But is not the object to transcend relativity rather than to achieve saints (or sages)? is Who important to say to seek something from mind. The answer surely enough.

as expressing points of view. that the we who understand. and no intellectual understanding produces satori. but much has happened since. Yours. and at some time planned goal. We are studying Mahayana philosophy 43 . But how did you get to your present awareness. Then even gravity Let's all have sympathy for what we are all doing! no more. The growing tuitive moments in depth and frequency. since we are reality.THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE that 'we' that that we out selves are such objects of consciousness (I mean of course we are used to thinking ourselves). February 8. understanding. It is a long time since I got yours of the i8th December. from the protoplasmic slime of our material ancestors to the first-class intellect with which you were born? The answer is by growth. are every object of consciousness. and to increase the ineffort. that I took the liberty of reading some of both our letters to our Group. Dear Terence. since it is we who dream them. of 'who practises' is itself a of understanding. but in their suchness not in their We appearance. However. then were our labours the Prajnaparamita barren indeed. which involved effort. to await their comment. our correspondence seemed to me so valuable. at the end of an hour they at least approached the middle. not single objects of consciousness. so must we be everything in our waking dream. To believe in our existence as such is simply impossible ! The is no T but greatest discovery possible to I. or do not understand that are ourselves part of that dream except in so far as we are reality? Just as we must be everything in our sleeping dreams. and unless the results of my students' growth efforts were to decrease the sense of self. both right and both limited. as I expected. separate and conceiving other objects. man No comparable thrill is the knowledge that there imaginable IButuntil it is exis is perienced the illusion holds full sway. Surely your distinction between saints and sages is 'falsely imagined'? I agree with Benoit that no preparation takes one to the no morality produces enlightenment. 1959. It was most interesting and.

and to share the comment on the chance that something therein might happen to be worth sharing. learn it. 'by way of trying to help. to the top. Your letters always stimulate me to comment. then wait for the actual experience. and I doubt whether all the translators have understood what they were saying. I realise more and more that they answered questions posed by people of another race. April 3. either saints or sages. You speak of what I am doing. and But running up one of the Malvern Hills. But we precisely must hear it. if it is a jump. what we do undoubtedly involves effort. then see how to get the experience. in cold practice we jump. Dear Toby. I spoke of other matters and then to record. the work of the Zen attempt Class for a wider audience. Do you not agree that we must re-express these things in our own idiom. the illusion of the ego. without abandoning the Master I have gone off on my own. as long as they operate via themselves in a false identification. and our present subject is what you so well describe. yes. in this present book. can ever get anywhere that matters much. not for the result of the work (yes. 1959. the Gita: I remember). and must we not practise jumping? Yours aye. 1959. Well. 1959. Dear Toby.ZEN COMES WEST with young Indian. not via translation but from our own understanding? Yes. and another cultural background. But when they operate as I-reality I'd expect both of them to reach home together. Terence. from the bottom still. before we experience it pace Jaini. either intellectually or intuitionally. another age. but effort for the work's sake. know that in Zen language you are right begin with the satoric is experience that there no I. I this have even done February 10. a brilliant all Dr I the Benoits in existence. I don't see We must seek no how reward.' In a letter of of my April 4. understand it. either. 44 .

but first in the sense of until that nothing.THE PROBLEM BECOMES ACUTE I know of no way in which one can help anybody. but I of no help in their trouble. that the ego must only be regarded as a working hypothesis. really to be rid of the notion would be the complete and supreme enlightenment of the Buddha. is can give you my guess. They have under- stood 'everything' but the essential. things (presumably) to grasp. if anything can. But I am willing to awakened may as it is said be able to do something of the kind in their grace-ful silence. nor will face Like the apparent world being just a concept in consciousness. First. four of whom among those who appear to have penetrated furthest. Yours very sincerely. 45 .e. no. That is a kind of answer to your denial that first one must understand that. three very well-known. of course not for it is the most difficult of all it. So not first in the time sequence. Of course. isn't it? One I don't know it. Yes. as a result so I believe and as four of them know of frustration. they should help a few people. nor believe that there is any. Certainly not by talking or believe that the lecturing or discoursing unasked. all are now seriously ill in mind or/and in body. pretty cannot but look for the reason. other than the very limited one of trying to answer direct questions or supplying the answers in written form in case anyone should happen on the one needed. People neither can. i. It might interest you to hear that of five people. Best of good wishes for your interesting letters. four of whom I know pretty well. but its non-existence can be clearly comprehended even though it has to be utilised as a formula in daily life. of realizing that all their understanding has led them nowhere and startling.

.

Part Two CLASS WORK .

.

In your case the worst obstacle is thought. and far preferable to the usual round of golf. 'The Light is within thee let the Light shine !' This is not mere mystical jargon. an added factor in a life of leisure. all this is excellent. gossip and beer. But you have it. To get your philosophic bearings. library books.CHAPTER IV PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY LETTER Dear I Mr Brampton. to know what you know and believe. and to think clearly before beginning the journey beyond thought. much less a near approach. But all this is You only the preparation for the approach to Zen. Zen is not a new hobby. so to speak. but profoundly true. Is this In life there what you want? Then you must pay for it! is nothing. and what you propose to do with your leisure. I agree that it is necessary to get things straight. It is actual awareness of the Absolute-EverythingAll. and want instructions where to find it. say that you want Zen. But you cannot appreciate too soon that none of this 'planned thinking' brings you even within measurable distance of the practice of Zen. not even the preparation/or it. As the Egyptian Hierophants said long ago. what you want.' This is an admirable programme. You say that now you have retired you will have time to 'think things out. and certainly don't believe. nothing whatever worth having for which 49 D . There is indeed no search for Zen only the removing of the obstacles which prevent our normal consciousness being aware of our Enlightenment. to help you find what you are.

conclusions.B. have acquired from life. 'Who puts you under restraint?' These are your fetters tied on by you. it would seem. Not the knowledge. which I too am in process of surrendering. You must surrender the fetters of knowledge and thought. for it can be useful. of honour and prestige. logical progression of thought and associated values. that not. But what would you be if you found yourself tomorrow morning disgraced. This is right. You must undo them. 5 . Nor thinking.. or with a seat on the Borough Council. typically western. that wrong. Nor is it enough to wish to be free from such fetters. Even at a free lecture you pay with your 'bus fare and intelligent interest. tremendous minds. your O. including the holding have. for the human beings who are greatest spiritually have all had. Can you lift yourself from the tramlines. at least partially. as the occult saying has it. It is not merely admitting that the other fellow may be right. whether in the process we 'grow' in the public eye or 'become as nothing in the eyes of men'. and that which you would become. You have read of the pupil who asked the master. to the eye of the man of Zen. perhaps We captain of your golf club. 'Master. play the fool? Let me give you a new idea. Why? Because all knowledge in the field knowledge is. But being bound to knowledge. soar on the wings of poetry. At present you move. and therefore from the ultimate stand-point wrong. wrong. and some is necessary. or learn to despise them. and all then? to You must what you therefore drop all grasping. sink into the arms of glorious music. to pay for what some call Zen? I will tell you some things which you must hand over. that is what puts us under restraint. What are you prepared time.ZEN COMES WEST we do not have to pay. Not that you need give them away or sell them. but realising that you must be. what shall I do to be free?' And the master answered. principles. alone and penniless? Where would Mr Brampton stand of relativity. limited.E. is partial. need to let go what we have. your car and your fine collection of prints of old London. ideas and even beliefs and opinions. But if only you could suddenly see behind yourself I can assure you that the imp of Zen is rocking with laughter. Then you must surrender all that you. but at you. this is to be acquired (with courtesy and fair play). not to add to ourselves. and not kindly and with you. Play with it and let it play with you. on the tramlines of a heavy. Mr Brampton.

/ cannot let you out. Christmas Humphreys 5* . for it can be conceived. In this belief I sign myself your friend. and careless. Self. for there are still two things. Are you girded for this journey? With self and all your belongings ready to hand over where you get your ticket? Are you willing to pay in advance. This for you is to burn your insurance policies. This my Suzuki says it. shouted at you. destroy your principles and almost your reason. which to us is death in advance till we do it. of supreme unawareness hear laughter in strange places.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY Zen It is is> non-duality. You process. like letting go a bit of elastic. This only is the true the universe. O. But what courage to let go! To leap over the precipice with no guarantee you will survive. at the end of a long. but perhaps I can help you'to realise that you are in a cage to which you have the only key. will what? Get Zen? No. hard road. I have bullied you. to fall into the darkness without any assurance that underneath are in fact the Everlasting Arms. lectured at you. beyond or other than the conis not theory. the part and the Whole. but perhaps in a moment good and be for the fat belly laughter. not this or that or any thing or power or faculty. I apologise. for it is a concept. and made free. for Jung says it and in different terms but without reference to each scious and unconscious. and no more. not both hold of it. mature yet powerful. Don't confuse non-duality with oneness. self dies. Mr Lumley Brampton. Dorit try. in faith. and see the smile of God in all about you. and allowed to spring back to the One. first time happy. when it becomes Life known for the first time. and man and the universe are but two of its million million The One fleeting forms. For while the can't get and not neither. therefore be a change of centre from the present ego- centredness of T to a new centre. that in exchange. prowling a self-made Zoo.B.E. But I see you if you will permit the rude disclosure as a proud animal. part sees the Whole there is no Zen. Zen awareness must be an expansion of consciousness beyond all knowledge of any kind and beyond all lies beyond the many and the one. not two. other. the babe that shall grow and become Now do you see that so long as the part is partial there can be no Zen? But when the part is let go. It is not one. Non-duality cannot. It There must must include the unconscious in this consciousness.

shall there . chapter XXV Look up There is a thing inherent and natural Which existed before heaven and earth . but oh. and we will all be Fiddle-de-Deists. that hold are opened. known of course as the spring!) So start again. of what is important and what is important more. But finding he did not want it he would let it fly away. We Thoughts arise. unriven. In the same way loves and hates and fears arise. silent typewriter. And if the name bothers you call it something else. So life New Be that sweetly sang within its veins. as an entomologist would examine a fly that alights on his desk. My new William. free . and dies untenanted. use them and say goodbye. you find that you have time for nothing else. a blown leaf on the winds of circumstance. as a new awakening.ZEN COMES WEST LETTER 2 Dear Martha. we greet them. It is not a release from acceptance its defeat. so put that in your cigarette holder and smoke it instead of your usual twenty a day. If you can't see Zen in washing up or potting the baby you won't see Zen in Suzuki's eyes. thought. a new meaning for happiness. but its utter acceptance. all that changes with success is that one day we shall know it. If you like. Now we only believe it and that not very strongly. how differently! Here life' in Geraldine Coster's immortal phrase. and in that suffer still. gets like this in it Fiddle-de-dee. Zen is. large or small. They are treated with care. . off You are stepping on the wrong foot. . . Zen is not an additional activity. Now you say that you have for the moment time for Zen. given back to earth. There is no such thing as the pursuit of Zen or studying Zen or acquiring Zen. When the hands And Lies still. It is not new or Japanese or queer. You don't 'give time' to Zen. of your Too Te Ching. Zen does not exist. . I am glad your immediate troubles with the children are over. and let go. is a 'sitting loose to suffering. call (I apologise. fetterless. It produces a new scale of values. to be added to a husband. two babies and a home.

No thinking achieves Zen. beyond all thought. So what?'. The bricks by which we build in thought are Do thought-forms.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY I do not know its name. to the extent that words are symbols of concepts and therefore of the stuff of relativity. Books are all about it. let me know the result. only more and more about it. . and a touch of it changes nothing yet makes all things new. western philosophy is to me the piling of dead flowers. Create them into the bowl. things made of thought. whereas one line of the Tao Te Ching or the Voice of the Silence lights up f the darkest day. Now drop yourself in with the peas and shelling. Do face that fact that Zen is. just sing. LETTER Dear Zelnuk. 53 . It just won't do. it If I am forced to give a name I call it Tao . Yours in the joy of T. or the heights of Kegon You quote brain and have read very widely of conclusions and comparisons but philosophy delight me. whoever they were. Now you are God creating some and flick new thoughts for the salvation of mankind. 3 You clearly have a first-class Western thought. . certainly mine and even Dr Suzuki's. Some great conclusion is reached. and darning socks is mending the normal wear and tear of the universe. or bricks of clay that have no light in them. These thoughtthings. I must confess I cannot follow you. but you will clearly attempt to use the same equipment as that which you successfuly used to scale the heights of Kant and Hegel. but allow me to dogmatise (what blasphemy!) from the point of view of Zen. But you needn't give it any name. So pity me in my ignorance. and I yawn and say. For some reason the Heart Sutra. You hate shelling peas? I will give you an exercise. get clear (the concept) that Zen is beyond all concepts. Start shelling peas. are made of the substance of thought. You say you will now tackle Zen. for I have never read one word of it. Then truly the morning stars sing together. Now drop the symbolism and just shell peas. things created by thought as bricks are made in moulds by man-power used on the physical plane.

and therefore the balance of all its parts. Let psychology be the laws of the machine of the mind. and so on. All it. as Dr Suzuki points out. Concepts are built up of opposites into convenient units of thought made up of the choice of so many of so many pairs. Zen point of view. but better still. We build up symbols and analogy. Just believe. but prisons. that it is true. and therefore dead. else the true were only half true? There is cannot be good without heat but by it is. and the last thought has and soar and sing in the golden light of the ending. then. though Zen is some in this say that way have caught its tail. is evil. to see. a divine non-sense where A but equally A true. what have you got? Think this if over. How. But the parts are crystallised out. the this is to Truth or only formulating ideas about field it? your and not mine. And even a principle which runs on tram-lines. Surely a consome noble idea has died. whatever else harmony incarnate. a conclusion is some- thing shut up. But seriously. as it were. will never leave the earth morning? No. Is this untrue? But surely if anything is opposite. Rules are devised by men for the use of the thought-forms thus created. It is all. For straight-forward production of a conclusion we use logic. try to intuit it. though what man thinks he gains by chopping up thought in this way I know not. can we usefully say that anything. Then 54 . language and elaborate reasoning. sense. as I understand I say is that from these are so many boxes. supposing you Zen is 'absolute idealism mystically experienced/ what said. variously coloured viction means that if you will. tombs. in pairs of opposites. cold. like a cab-horse in blinkers. that there is something beyond is A. as a hypothesis.A. Surely the universe. as a scientist uses a slide rule. the only way out of thought is to think to the end of thought. Think to the precipice where logic dies. nor light without shadow. and we know absence. with a yelp you permit yourself such joy. or try to catch it with the butterfly nets of the professor? Nor will it yield to the bird-lime of paradox. a dead-end. and mysticism the technique of direct vision of Reality and its subsequent expression. But are you one inch nearer However. have you of delight. You might as well cut up the sea with a bread knife. For abstract thoughts we use metaphysics.ZEN COMES WEST which is substance or matter on the plane of thought as clay is matter on the physical plane. All thought is comparative. so is its not.

PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY we can begin. not yet out of the net of thinking. You write film-star. into the past. but you must find it. or forward. often in the person of the Teacher. pupil-patient's mind in mind. for if you do you will for the first time be happy. or from the present. storm and sea. and hence all below him in rank who progress. for we are always here wherever we are. at all times. Or we fear the future. Most of us lean back. or cling to support on either side. The Indian rektion between master and Dear Rodney. and it is always now. the seekers of refuge and the well-content. Yours. not the like That is Zen way. the psychiatrist is only dealing with the of the mind. Others will help you to find the Truth within you. or some marvellous new book on your own feet. and let others seek refuge in you. into an idealised future. or in your lee. So it is or person or idea. passes nothing. for the rock is moving with the storm! Rock. is class. endeavouring to escape to some other place. and more like the western True. aspirations and best method of The Zen master. Or we run from the past. LETTER 4 like a love-sick school-boy to a famous not your Guru just because I take a class in the approach to Zen. Stand 55 . I am pupil is often that described as Bhakti Yoga. is solely concerned to help the student break through the limitations of thought to his own He gives him nothing. or time. and so. and incidentally a most rare person. Why? There nothing to give. or circumstance. But that won't do either. but like the Zen master he holds up a mirror to the psychiatrist. and matters of satori and the like are utterly machinery beyond his ken. nor are you my chela in the profound spiritual sense of that Indian term. and hence its even breathe the word Zen to a enlightenment. Be a vast rock in a stormy ocean. no good clamping onto me. which he can the more easily see his own limitations. where the master is much more impersonal (more Jnana Yoga in Hindu terms). Do be your age. There are no other places. in facing it lean back and move to it fearfully. the way of devotion to a personified Ideal. So stand up and accept things as they are.

reasonably and periodically passionate. so they say. but enterprises are reasonably sane at least the gents involved in these several . It makes the world go round. Qa se voit. Being in love may be a functional neurosis but nature invented it. and I see no point in calling her handiwork rude names. never satisfied. though the Theravadin Buddhists would shake their heads and say. only consequences. and let us be colleagues and not a limpet and a rather weary rock in a very muddled sea! are all Good typing. Guru-hunting youths. and it is have often said there is nothing outside to be found in licking stamps as in founding Empires. say I. thirty blows for the mind which strays from its theme or exercise Yours remembering.. and come gently back to earth. get on with your work for you do it splendidly. Well. I say no more. But a fat lot that will worry you on your honeymoon! And don't let it. with a milder attack. as the French say. 56 . friends.. The Zen master would I think send you away on the ground that you do not at present want Zen. But meanwhile don't drag Zen into it.. but moving nowhere. get married. You do not need to tell me that you are desperately in love. does already). to the nobler relationship of mutually understanding. and I look forward to the appearance of the first of them. for there is nowhere to move . that this after which there will be is a disease to be enjoyed and cured of time for Zen. LETTER 5 Dear Miss Melland. ever renewed.. After that. ! LETTER Dear Bungy. 6 Why is it I can't find Zen material in the Class. But when you recover from this endemic and ever-prevalent disease you will appreciate (as George. 'That is the trouble. get into it. you want a double bed. or is it I can't see it under my nose? Love-sick maidens. I know that I the ambit of Zen. Of course love is wonderful. In Buddhism there is no sin. So get on with your mutual adoring. changing. All right.ZEN COMES WEST we moving.' It keeps the Wheel of Life revolving with the karmic consequences of this personal desire.

thank you for your advice. 'Love thou true. or a young and veryor a plump and comfy blonde 'd'un certain age' with an pretty girl. equivalent of the eager. teach what I know not. As some wag said when I regretted I was not a better teacher. It gets easier with practice. but if I tried to show I am. to the 57 . for I suppose we must develop the them muscles of the intuition as those of the biceps with deliberate use. faculty. but I prefer us as Martha and Rodney and the unsmiling got look at it all. But how to start these dear folk on the way to Zen? Many are still miles from the entrance to that Way. merry. I feel sometimes that I am the led not the leader. Life must have hiccups of laughter at times at the silly noises we make about her! We may be merely that.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY retired business men who study Zen like a Company . so shalt thou find teacher am me me be more than I am. fierce-minded horde of young Japanese students that I lived with and meditated with in the Zen monasteries of Japan? I look at thirty faces. it.' or some such bleary verbiage. you have given none but you have helped by off. no better/ which was excellently and rudely for what I can give no more. and then push them through? I suppose. all are unhappy parts that yearn to go home. but I claim no more. much be do I help them to How. and in the light of the All-SELF equally non-existent. many haven't the mind to think. then. and housewives who in a full day allocate time for Zen between where is the English bathing baby and welcoming hubby home . facets of the one Life. that between teacher and taught. True. May less to pass beyond the confines of that mighty I have found the entrance. All right. All of us are seeking the Father. I must see deeper than this to the Self which is one with my Self. so unreal. first. . intellect like a high-power sports car zooming round me in three dimensions. for thirty minds all same time sparks of the Mr Brampton and the ever-smiling Mrs Wilmer who has But how can I reach these minds with mine? When I I see an elderly balding man. that I am panting along behind your remarkably swift advance to the experiences I talk of but have little known. I should be false most sacred trust in the world. prospectus. *we have got the we deserve. and just so many 'continua of noncontiguous thought-moments in a force-form-time field of discrete phenomena. like I that look at many masks yet at the them. Flame. by being utterly true to myself. If I give what I fairest' is true.

and that when it is perfectly put it needs no answer. These good people pursue the Good as others the Beautiful or the True.) I think what you It is not easy to grasp are asking is why isn't goodness enough to secure enlightenment? This is a big question and might need a long answer. less Good or the Beautiful or the lies True. Devotion (Bhakti) and Action (Karma) Yoga has all three. but one touch of Zen experience false. You are a noted novelist. sometime by all. the supreme Yoga with its Wisdom (Jnana). as it were. let off this me LETTER 7 Dear Madam. but Raj Yoga. The saint need not be learned or even wise. You no and become is all of them. Difficult to Non-dual becomes not Two yet 58 . No sight. many good people about us. humility. Think of NOTHING.ZEN COMES WEST letting untidy steam. nor can you know that you are you. and enter it. Yours on the Path. There are many. for they are the reflections of different faculties. Thereafter you know. and that which beyond not describable. The good alone will never include the true. your question. eternity. The fact is surety plain. compassion. that is one of those profound sayings which may be true but is not very helpful. Of course. It is the why that may be difficult. It is not. and to hell with unbelievers. and you may not be wise in doing so yet. Follow me. You therefore have a powerful imagination. sound. Space. sound in ethics. thing about you. and as such are purged of the conceit of self and the danger of being content with the will want. conduct and character. (You are right. In the absence of difference and that knows that it is. the intellectual genius may not be at all good. Perhaps it is not very clear to your own mind. darkness. who are yet nowhere at all on the way to enlightenment. and it has been said that only the perfectly formulated question can be answered. All this must be done. to develop patience. this does not frailties mean good/evil. to use the old formulae. there is realise? It is impossible! Now nought no self-consciousness. that beyond it is true/ waste of time to dominate the lusts and of the flesh. But if you seek Zen. is beyond out of time. you seek that desperate flash of the Absolute in which heaven and earth are both consumed and both are born anew.

or for no reason at all. They stick in. Why. the few to Two. technique of meditation. Zen's 'purposefor all our desire. Thoughts do injure. lessness?' If this is all too Who high for you drop Till then. I can't let it go on. more important. and then? Jump. As such you are rare in England. why spoil yourself for us with such sad blemishes? Jung would introvert. for it ensures right motive for all our acts. 8 You have so much to offer. But meanwhile to move to the Good is enormous wisdom. as you must in principle. for all mankind. to the individual and to take the group. not as a mere intellectual idea but as a force of character. JUMP Well. or what- 59 . it can't always come off but one day it will. At the same time you have a deep compassion for all forms of life. it. and read it again in a year. Three and then 'the ten thousand things. but in a small group. even Zen? that faithfully and not be ashamed of the reply? For self. and. From the many to the few. and you aren't the hating Why you up on this because I have used the word hurting advisedly.' Now back again. and believe me. spoil all this with call you an so much two of deep members type. which should be as the fingers of one hand. and can injure gravely. then. and you ask me to be frank. Yours sincerely. it is a strong mind that. ! can Why do we want anything. can remain unaffected. answer for Self. and in his famous diagram would classify an intuitive emotional. This applies anywhere. the Two to One. with venomed points. spiteful criticism of others? stuff and two of catty. receiving them perpetually. And then? You won't need words from me. and fester. Can't you accept in fact. I must write me four pages. useless hurting attacks on other of the group? It can't be jealousy. you as as a developed mind. (You remember Eckhart's distinction of the Godhead beyond God?) For the One is conceivable and the Absolute is not. LETTER Dear Mary.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY but One. the injury is greater. you are so beautiful of form and mind. It is this One that becomes Two. on doctrine. Thoughts of illwill are like arrows. that others with different views.

absorbing in the sense of giving way to it. I can easily accept others' weakness. But you won't it. That is not tolerance. but I think I see how miracles are sometimes wrought. Her sex-life is her own affair. partially true as your own opinion. 'True tolerance is an eager and a glad acceptance of the way along which others seek the truth.' Surely that is her affair. now boisterous-whimsical and now sheer school-boy. and your spite at her? Can't you accept her with her failings as you presumably accept me with mine? Knowing too well my own moments of self-doubt and depression. 60 . play with you. of inconsistency of mood and purpose. The sun is all about you. intellectual. Supposing she has 'boy-friends. The change for the better can I think be sudden. and all the silly little habits of behaviour and attitude to people and circumstance. between yourCircle. Let it sing to you. and I will quote again. would you dislike us all so much? Or any of us? Or Sally? Is this but a moral lecture? Not in the least. play the fool with you. of your moods and sulkiness. and not (thank Karma) any of mine. I hope I am not being blasphemous. Just suddenly take Life in your hands and hug it. now piano. But perhaps I am being hard on your conscious mind.) But what if she wrote to me of it you. or as it.' Think it over. Or are you jealous? (I can see you getting scarlet at that one. and ness. accept it. utterly beyond me. I know about them and does not worry me. particularly against Sally. of barriers of criticism moral and almost physical. Or yours. It may be that your venom. digesting and genuinely accepting that it may be true. large or small. save in the sense of impatiently putting up with. with a sense of separation. and I am leader of a class of such. a phrase I heard Annie Besant use. You would claim that you allow them their point of view.ZEN COMES WEST ever it here? may be. are just as likely to be right as you for them. I want Zen. now violent. comes from the sub-conscious or unconscious part of the mind. and other members of the Zen is beyond distinctions. If we all took off not only our clothes but our bodies. beyond you and Sally. You have heard me quote. But you say you say you will not find Zen while and self filled dislike. Can't you? Do try. Your remarks about her sound like a Victorian school-maam. now. I think you have reached the end of this particular weak- and a mere shrug of the shoulders will shrug it off. But grudgingly to allow the other man to exist is not to allow him tolerance. not yours.

It was good of you to say so much. At your age I had done the same. But by western rules of thinking you are question may be me to agree that surely begging the question. Subjective. as a ghost is said to be merely subjective (though to me as objective as a cat. if it is hallucination it is not satori .e. but if you have time to put your question I suppose I must find time to answer it. it is not any sort of hallucination. with love. or that Karma and Compassion are at cosmic level expressions of the same 61 . the faculty of satori. and must be. Wow! This wants a lot of sorting out. One test of intuitive knowledge is it gives a sense of absolute certainty. Congratulations! Yours brutally. but then I read Law and never did more than five hours work a day. But now you want proof that satori. and therefore beyond the limitations of the relative. If doubt remains it is not the intuition speaking. it is done. as before. It is certainly not objective in the usual sense of the term. i. if such a distinction is valid. If a man draws a gun and fires point-blank at his enemy and the enemy falls dead with a bullet in the heart that is pretty good proof that he killed the man at least good enough for most Old Bailey juries. But as such it is. even though reason cannot yet express the certainty in terms of the intellect. LETTER 9 Dear Silver. that which is of the Absolute. 'Merely' subjective? I see the trap befoie me. But if I say that Life is one. So. 'mere' or otherwise. incapable of proof. But perhaps you really it is a glorified hallucination. If at 22 you are on your way to a medical degree.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY beauty and light and fun. Let us begin at the end. if it is. the grubbiness. or your father's generation did in my time. You for Medicine have to work eight. In other words. though of finer matter). yes. and have found time to read so much of comparative religion and philosophy and in particular so much of Buddhism and Zen I congratulate you. is not merely subjective. if it is satori. Robe yourself in your own beauty of mind as well as body. Drop the rest. the cloudiness. It is well. At its face value your want answered. which you call the experience of Zen. by definition (as if that were possible with satori!). for satori is ex hypothesi. and at Cambridge too. yes. It is like the that intuition.

and when Life has used you she made manifest. there is no proof of Zen. and another asks for proof. Come humility thereafter tear the what makes her tick. in all things and events and circumstances.ZEN COMES WEST cosmic harmony. and you sun yourself in the same sun in the same garden. I know that to be true. and wearing them all out. Life goes on. not a superior smile but the gentle grin as of friends who share a common secret. on so well 'inside' and 'outside*. woman to pieces if you must. or be chastised by her." That is one of the greatest remarks ever made. live life at times." says the Tao Te Ching. or of Life itself for that The only proof for you is your experience and for me mine. your shopping 62 . but I can't prove it to you and I wouldn't try to do so. out of the house of self and into Enlightenment. Meanwhile the baby chuckles and grabs what it 'divine' or likes the look of. nor would the Buddha discuss such matters as having no relation to the wholetime task of walking on and walking on. or even for a description of the experience. the bird in the tree squawks to keep another cat away from its nest. at the but don't only look woman with a desire to pull her to proud pedestal of western thought. "and you will remain entire. "Be humble. you in the dust-bin and walk on. Humbly unseparate. contentedly part of an endless and undifferentiated All. For the moment accept her. No. You too are Life in a will put perishable set of forms. to see matter. Your friend to be. in a second as with a microbe or in a million years or so as with a mountain. So let's drop proof. and in greater off the cold. nothing worth proving can be proved. Accept it so. you will remember. separative mind. with all your senses. I am glad to hear you are getting it. but closing gently for a while the steel doors of your analytic. As I have often said. pieces. as you put So you are 'zenning' your cooking. LETTER IO Dear Martha. you will just smile. and one which has made and will forever make all things as new. And Zen? Is THAT whence or how or why or when it matters not. Zen w. caress her Life you may study her later. Fall in love with and be caressed in turn. using a million forms perhaps the cat's tail . live it. But when you have it.

PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY and even the baby. not to mention the millions of the East. No. As Dr Suzuki wrote. but because we are for the most part grossly ignorant of it. first floors. 'There is nothing infinite apart from finite things. The engineer is told of a weird and sets to work to find out what it is that causes see as you don't of course see them at all with the eye. It is like finding an entresol between the ground and This psychic plane is neither good nor bad. One person would strongly visualise. I don't mean noise in the engine. E. it is apt to be dangerous. In the end I came to the conclusion it was the use of the word 'my* in connection with mind. making their 63 . You would much.' If only one could see the infinite in the finite! I remember gazing a long time at an ash-tray. as our physical body is used to contact the physical plane. as real as the physical or the mental but of the substance of neither. This astral astral adopted double of the physical is the true seat of the physical senses. scientists are clairaudience. Nor are the visions mental. etc. Forms are enormously different and in one sense reversed. I haven't got one. Psychic visions. and no more. which several of us at Cambridge forty years ago would practise as an amusing exercise round the fire. and of the 'lower iddhis or abnormal (but never supernatural) powers of y psychometry. Its subas stance at is seen as starry. Excellent. until the scorn of their elders (but not clairvoyance. (Extra-sensoryperception) is a high-faluting name for the deliberate transmission betters) of knowledge from a positive to a negative mind. and to the extent that I have the ash-tray remains as such. though seen in a mirror. now knocks the knowledge out of them. Colours are far more real. wondering what spring in my mind I could find and touch which would make the ash-tray reveal its primordial andunstained infinity. presumably. you are entering at times willy-nilly a new world. Still less are they hallucinations. See what they are (and it. which every savage tribe has known since 'mentally' the world began. as you almost admit. the word one time in the Theosophical movement.S. with your eyes shut. hence. First. in the sense of created thought-forms. Heavy-handed solemnly proving that people can communicate at a distance. But now to your worries. The human faculty for contacting this plane is a body made of its substance. say. the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.P. their infinity). being 'seen' as of living substance and not the reflection of light. and the others. and also thousands in the West.

Bendit's The Psychic Sense. But most small children at one through a phase of having the 'sight/ and can see these things and people. Thank you for taking my rude letter so well. and the untold because unseen damage it does to the medium used. get smacked out of it. all kinds parallel to humanity. and good shopping on the way. And the Celtic races. and having no bearing whatsoever on Zen attainment. So don't worry about your 'sight/ Ignore your visions of colour-forms and the like. Much of the Deva or 'angel' evolution. Now we can forget it. Highland Scots. Then they grow out of it or. You can forgive a man for an arrogant annoy manner if he has a great brain. But the danger of their abuse is well rubbed in in The Voice of the Silence. the little tricks woman who But of personality for which we want to make us feel happy. so on. and a . or a woman's gush if she is really intuitive and has great things at times to say. But I heartily agree that it is the silly small things about us that each other so much. and later his wife Phoebe Payne with whom he colla- you more of 'psychic powers' so-called. will not bath sufficiently or wears I have a sneaking feeling that we also love one another for trivial habits which we find endearing. But read it up in Dr L. Or are these little which we see in them the one Self hug each other because they tricks the windows through which is in all of us.' the seat of many of our 'hunches'. I may find time to speak later. nearly always picked it up. Including the intuition.ZEN COMES WEST minds blank And screens. or calls everyone dear old boy. far higher faculties. But I have no time to talk at length on a matter so unimportant. Irish. Or do they? I didn't. as of many of our sudden likes and dislikes of people and places. and fairies of time or another pass belong to it. both published by Faber. but we squirm at the way a man sniffs before each utterance. Of the foul practice of spiritualism. Bretons and so on. or the appalling hats. Meanwhile walk on. This will tell never be confused with psychic 'feeling. and go on to develop. at their level of existence. or very near it. are naturally psychic at all ages. as I have said. J. LETTER II Dear Mary. and the danger of them. I knew him well at Cambridge. which must borated. and forget. or This World and That. functions on this plane.

when they earn the right to male product of avidya. and we are in the way of ourselves. cultured middle-aged man is not a pretty sight when fighting. Where is imagileast in mind nation. being a temporary to us all. at to serious. and dirtily fighting. common to borrow another's bodies . but never dislike the sinner. another man. of training. . supplies. How to get out of our own way? One way is to be humble. so they say. modesty. despise as It is his giving much as you is that is his fault. (Even) they will gain enlightenment. But to be humble. Shall we say that we are holding hands in the darkness but at times it is so dark we cannot see the hands? But you can feel for them. virtue. and this is illusion. even at the price of depression. . And you aren't any more lonely than before. as I'm tired of the other names)? I don't now for your 'new loneliness'. dangerous footpath at a mere 10.000 ft. But soon. and forgetting your want of a hand.000 ft. but was in the way of the larger one's ambitions. even to the end. The animals fight for food. or a cave to sleep in. but I cannot join the many who. as we forget the last go of you 'flu. It isn't new but cyclic. So are the virtues. Impatience often a virtue. or a mate. but even though we basically have it too. So do we. alone. And how many of us has ever stood at even 10. and most of our sins are animal sins. Deplore the sin in him if you will. is apt to make us conceited.? E 65 .PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY feeble reflection of the SELF or Absolute (I silly shall call it the WHOO-HOO know. offer one. But what is right for them is now wrong for us. For we are animals. for his wife or stamping out a poor little rival firm that only wanted to live. a dear friend. We are our brother's keeper. We are always lonely in the sense that we are always. But the hell of loneliness is the feeling of separation. perhaps. Zen &. way to the sin that he may The sin. is my struck with the wish to achieve the summit of Everest. And women? Don't incite me to be rude. and had forgotten the earlier bout of it. a lot more our plans for our own attainment. rocky. route-planning. so stick to the sins. or to survive. and he needs us. The animal in us should now be at heel An able. but the fighting in us is not so pretty. Most of us are bowled over by the first East wind on the first climb up some narrow. common sense? Before leaving the foothills there would be a thousand things to do. are pained to find they have not arrived a week or two later.

us. Consider the fencer. and care not that we seldom. the hitting was the result of a veiy compound you are still creating as many bodies as you dissolve. No. But to stop trying would be awful. as W. So do it. What comes to be done is duty. LETTER 12 Dear Zelnuk. Having achieved all this he forgot it and hit. sit in We may them front of them. 'We have not a cry. intuitive mind. I am content if I can see the next step in advance only. You are the victim this time. puffing and panting. Sorry for such a long letter. You are still perpetually striking intellectual attitudes. or even live in front of them yet see drawn. without purpose. its advisability. admire the courage of your efforts to get out of your bonds of thought. so high it is almost over unbelievable. silently. But if you use your mind you will I unity. Q. but there. work out the movements necessary and then lunge? He did not. Oh.' So am I. The cloud is still solid. for it is generally as much as I can tread. If I say to you relax. Judge wrote in his Letters that have helped me. below. but as I see more clearly myself I find that it helps to write it down. it ignores all mediates. clear road. . it is there unutterable but there. He sees his opportsee that Zen is cause of a trained eye and wrist and much knowledge. For the direct path. it would not be there to be done unless you had made it so. Houdini never got out of worse than you have coiled about your free. it is not clear. True. Meanwhile know that you can do whatever comes to be done. He hit. Then I realised the fun was saying 'ten thousand'. You may fail. choose a method of attack. a veil is Then suddenly and we do not forget. And he goes on. But much loved by your tormentor. Ping! A hit! Did he consider what to do. to find my car was blocking a bus (I 1 . but to my French friends this is merely three thousand metres So I came down again.ZEN COMES WEST scrambled up the hill-side. all veils of concept or emotion or valuation. the ego!) But we do have peeps of the high peaks now and again. but failure is nothing. in the Haute Savoie to feel I'd done it. you promptly produce a syndrome of thought about relaxation. 66 . as we crane our necks and gasp. And we stand and cry.

childish once again and even laugh fat. It is concerned with the realm of non-duality. Now go for a walk. passes. I cannot. I said. say I. advantages. and all this playing about . I said relax. and anything which is aware of not being attached to something else is still in the realm of duality. the mood doorstep of a pure Professor of the Good . therefore. ruary. and get drunk together and to pay grocer's bill I must descend again to con- together pluck the fruits of folly in the garden of the Real. There isn't one. they ask? I am. think about relaxing. and my But will you not come alive at times. say I. Zen experience is utterly. of concept. Where is the flower? Ha. . its floweriness. as a student of Zen. so unutterably dead. hearing such a phrase. The Zen avoiding attachment to thought. would hit the speaker on the head. really allow me. Yours more deeply than may seem. not all of which shall rob me of the moment of awareness. silly. is But what fragrance. Surely you can see that so long as there is thought. . content with what enjoying it. I get poetic at mouth full of the dust of concept. feel happy. I feel like a laughing harlot on the So. in reply to your letter of the I3th Febthe Zen manner. You scientists (and for that matter Theravada Abhidhamma technicians) take a flower and tear it into its components. they say. Sorry. waste time considering such vague abstractions as "lucidity without You must Masters. GO! I didn't say work out the most advantageous method of putting your hat on! And so on. cept. to answer in totally and for all time beyond the utmost reach of thought. For it is so sterile. the lie moment of unutterable life when the flower and I undivided on the times when I get my altar of the Ever-living. picking up another and enjoying it is. triumphantly. belly-laughter as of a man made free? Then we will sing together. Nor is it possible to consider what remains unattached and what is the awareness of being unattached in ideation".PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY technique. there is attachment. and therefore. LETTER 13 Dear Mr Gunther. Zen is not concerned with the realm of duality. But I did not say. that is just what we were pointing out. its beauty. Bosh. and to hell with its niceties of concept.

levels) a sacred and the principle is the same as that of the Guru of India who. Thus knowledge circulates. And this triple man. for blood must flow. the many look up to the few. All else is chatter and a waste of time. LETTER 14 Dear Mr Tolson. The room in which the teacher meets feel the sacred tie to those the taught is in fact a temple. Please don't sneer at yourself as a teacher. What higher role has man? To govern has always been regarded as inferior. which is partly what you were taught and partly what you rediscovered for yourself. is and always will be judged by what he is as much as by what he teaches. as 'a mere don'. In India the Brahmin is higher than the Kshatriya. The Archbishop is always the power behind the You teach what you know. 68 . regard the point of may be talking about Zen but as a it is not Zen and will is To Zen Buddhism new system of thought to miss genuine its existence. and all who graduate who come after. the One-Mind. the doctor (psychiatrist) for the Whole-Health. for these three. what they learnt. But the few are dedicated to the many. was. as wherever there is teaching. At Cambridge. if requested. and once they were. Yours sincerely. teaches his pupils heritage. seated in the shade of a tree. The priest spoke for God. as you will find if your meditation is deep enough. in Babylon. the fighter-ruler. Laws which create and control all outer As such they were collectively the voice of Karma-Compasgion-Harmony. to go back to teach. All alike from greater knowledge (Knowledge) help the pupil- patient-penitent to know more of himself and thereby to achieve his own health-integration-salvation. for in it is the direct transmission of the knowledge (at low levels). The teacher-healer-priest should be one. and the teacher for the inner facts. throne. the taught to the teachers. are one. Wisdom (at high handed down. a mighty man. His example in the long run is the force by which he heals. instantaneous awareness of non-duality.ZEN COMES WEST with concepts not lead to it. There is no greater occupation for a human being than to teach. It exists to the extent that it helps the student to break through the barriers of thought and achieve a blinding flash of im-mediate.

But we shall not patiently. Excellent. we can none of us do more. as I realised later. Teach on. like the song of the Buddhist Society Blind Ploughman which I sang when young in my deep bass rumble. As we empty ourselves of self we become a larger conduit pipe for the Wisdom. . and in the course of it Buddhi is developed to arouse the Bodhi asleep within. the faculty of Enlightenment which inside. part on the physical plane. save from Buddha' you have heard me quote that from The Voice of the Silence a dozen times. said Jesus. I stuff back the yearning for help into their own minds.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY wisdom for which they are ready. What is taught is the same Truth. LETTER 15 Dear Rodney. But first. The causes are of course physical and karmic. part on the inner planes working out onto the outer plane. No more fierce exercise so I had time to read and meditate.' (Though I could never reach the high note of 'soul'. which is the Buddha-Principle within each one of us. And so to Buddhism and the Your friend must be. I am not Christ nor do I work miracles. like worry ending by making you sick. Your fellow teacher. quantity and degree. is no help to be obtained. no and no more. thou art c know that it is enlightened already. My purpose single. unceasingly. learns to And The must be endured and if possible used to planned I was at Cambridge I rowed so hard I busted my purposes. Did the Buddha do more? Only in quality. but the me' is not Jesus. 'I and my Father are one' is the Christ speaking. else we do not deserve to learn more. back. we should none of us dare to do less than try. . 'Come unto me'. it is the Christ-Principle. We must all teach what we know. and so teach more. How can you help your friend who is going blind? In lots of ways. . do shut up gazing at me and writing to me as if I were the Guru of Gurus. so that they can see there is 'Look within. symbolic). to try to help fellow sufferers help themselves out of suffering. so to your friend. the enlarge that pipe by failing to appreciate the splendour of its function. . So please don't be so rude to yourself. which is perhaps effect When . 'God has taken away my eyes that my soul might see. of the relation less of Spirit to forms.

for so much easier to see Zen in a new situation than in the it is dreary round of the old! Yours from the darkness. And what a chance for Zen! I almost envy her. as distinct from being dragged. and has interested the Chaplain Prison Visitors . for I have done it. they learnt to have 'died'. 70 . I've been blind. you're disgraced. Attack the crisis positively instead of moaning negatively. touch-typing. you say? It is. disgraced.' I've even worked out a meditation system for my cell. and been given six months to live. to plan for Braille. as it were. and not as semi-death. that is. Help her to face the situation and accept it. for they had nothing to lose. which is rare and so much better than lying down flabbily to the will of an extra-Cosmic God who seems in need of psychiatry. and two great success. before a blow was struck. reading by being read to and using the radio intelligently as never before. So get the old lady to accept herself as blind already. All very easy for me to talk. crippled. By strenuous meditation. use of the imagination and so on. As such they were but invincible. . Thus she can achieve a dynamic acceptance. been nearer to blindness than she has. and scores of times have planned my life anew on the basis that I had just had the news. 'You're blind. If she can cease to fear it she can the more easily prepare for it. and was able to hand it over at once to a member of the Society who is in fact doing five years for burglary. as no more than losing a front tooth or the front bedroom to a lodger. you're going to prison for five years. Treat the loss of sight as the loss of a leg. unwillingly to blindness. in prison.ZEN COMES WEST So nowyou must prepare the old lady. After such preparation I found that He reports when given a month's notice from a job I'd held for twenty-five years and thought I held for life I felt no shock whatsoever beyond out a a mild reaction of new 'What damned impertinence!' I worked career within twenty-four hours and was soon impatient to begin. . So I at least in imagination. deaf. to have flung away the body in the as part of their training would 'die' all service of their Lord. You will have read that the Japanese samurai before they ever went into battle.

you it in this present birth. large and small. And I admire your car you have and not borrow someone else's. it moves the tides intolerably patient as the mistress of beard. which uses It is all forms. What It is a force. and question a name. Yet still you ask the which cannot be answered. in the snow-flake. also that in the cancer in crocuses and the limited is not Zen.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY LETTER Dear Brampton. growth It motivates sweet youth in love. all time. Or a definition? But to define is is to limit What and that which (indeed finis is an end). for favour is the Great yana means vehicle and the Mahayana you have you got this car and not some other? Buddhists Vehicle). but very reasonably. makes the grass grow and and the sun and the earth. creating (and destroying with its remorseless pressure) the microbe and the mountain range. Why would say that this compound of qualities is the child of a million make up 71 . Vast or minute in the form it uses. LETTER 17 Dear I Silver. What is Zen? What do you want me to say? I know you have read half a dozen books on Zen Buddhism. it you can only use the All right. and also venereal disease. it is most alive IS IT? Tell me that and I will tell you what is Zen. am glad you see what I mean when I say that Zen can never be frankness in saying that to approach 'proved'. cosmic in scope. What is it you want? A word. Let us look at this car. let us start again from there. would you say if / asked you. and powers of thought and 'good or 1 the car or Vehicle (the analogy is excellent. and discards them when worn out. cell. It shows in all of us as love and hate and of all in the festering corpse. limitations. have inherited it in the sense that you have not wrought First. utterly impersonal. WHAT Yours peevishly perhaps. yes. a sacred formula? even attended a meeting or two of the Class. Your present 5 capacities. it roots of creeper and hides the ruin It breaks the brick wall with soft my with unnumbered flowers. But laughter. dilections. prefeeling. is life? I know no useful answer. It produces the Aurora Borealis and the thought which created Belsen. qualities 'bad'. 1 6 You ask me yet again.

I want to comes from mother and a love of medicine this sense. as you imagine. You would find it difficult to look dispassionately at. am born into a long line of lawyers because I am of that type of mind and can learn more in it. must dig and cut and blast to prepare the way for the new line of force. Is the intuition even on your curriculum? I hope so. You have been nurtured in an atmosphere of orthodox medicine. for example. then. But every concept. that your life will tend to be that of the tram. etc. because you have been subtly conditioned to sneer at anything so unorthodox. unless the is morial at fault. that we were drawn to that family make and this point. or osteopathy. accept or reject that as you will. I am not a lawyer because I am born into a line of lawyers. in the . that your vehicle is set in its capacities. for hillside it is the sole faculty. weak chest from father only in for rebirth by lines of attraction of like to like. Face.. However. is a movement beyond Of course this is impossible. and may run counter to your present training. you will by now appreciate. by which you wisdom of the East from time immewill ever KNOW Zen as distinct from knowing about it. But it has to be done. your channels of knowledge. But we inherited them from our parents. say.ZEN COMES WEST causes in past lives sense that a in terms of mechanics. as an engineer. rather than the sporting car free of the roads to be terrifying as you are on Saturday afternoons. deliberately dropping the innumerable assumptions which make up the platform on the from which you look out on the land below you. This takes time. for Zen. all consciousness must move according to some control. as you will see. and the Zen ideal 'Let the mind alight is nowhere* tremendously high and difficult. My point. the hills about you and the heights as yet unclimbed above your head. And if you are bound at your age. herbalism. on set lines. Your reactions to all thoughts are therefore severely conditioned by that upbringing. how much more are those who approach Zen in middleage? If you are serious in your urge to Zen you must therefore acquire the habit of a direct approach. I. as limitations. 72 . the emotions and the mind. is that though you are young you are not nearly as able to change your lines of thought and reaction. You have a host of assumptions about the body. and patience. who is controlling the fall of water when making new channels for a stream. that you have to cut new channels in the mind. the resultant effect of manifold causes.

All very difficult but great fun. But to all of us God is a religious term. for it could not be white if it wasn't also black. But here's the point. The Zen master himself may have concepts his Views'. conclusions and even working a barrier. principles. can be given a fairly clear meaning. That is why the master will say to the pupil. as the gull.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY including all is hypotheses. so to develop the intuition that it can use the vehicle of thought This is and yet be untrammelled by its limitations. For Zen is rides the poised above the opposites. i 8 You for ask the relationship of God and Zen. and yet in some way be personal enough 73 . however light. 'How dare you say that snow is white?' he will roar at the terrified pupil. whom I think you heard at the Society last Easter would. At the and implies. argue firmly with rival pundits on the comparative merits of various schools. but that is true! But enough or I shall give you indigestion. as the Western minds. But his life-force. as I think by now you see. some Power which is powerful enough to have created the Universe. itself Yours freely. say. only to the extent that one is beliefs. so to speak. as a world-ranking expert on Zen pictures. at its lowest it is the venerable but highly peevish old gentleman with a long white beard as known to many in my youth. is bound to these one fettered by them. does it not. Not easy to answer. in the way of Zen experience. or your lecturers say. quite 'right' in his conclusions but of course one-sidedly so. the difficulty with a mind that is powerfully intellectual. it is the Absolute. being a new concept for the West. in that sense 'alights nowhere'. though Zen. God has as many meanings as there are 'Godhead' of Eckhart. . and I have no doubt. highest. Some minds are deepset in their tramlines and cannot fly above them and be free. would not be tied up in the concepts he would use such thoughts and still be free. and being unfettered when it alights. I know that it follows that all that we say. wind and uses it. that he is wrong. I don't know what the present children have in their mind for God perhaps nothing. is never more than half true. with effortless ease. LETTER Dear Brampton. And how right he is. even political if he cares to waste the time. that Dr Hisamatsu.

So in Zen you must travel alone. years ago. Look to nothing. the Void' and the One-Mind or Mind-only. Everything is within says the man of Zen.ZEN COMES WEST to reflect our human weaknesses and be on is intimate terms with the individual's needs. Zen lays tremendous emphasis on the search within. then. as distinct from the Self-Power by which the Rinzai Zen practitioner seeks and finds enlightenment. and I am choosing my words carefully. and if so as representing what? Aren't you strong enough now to stand alone? you cannot. but he loved the Virgin and for the time being liked to keep her statue enshrined amid flowers in his room! He felt better when we confessed in turn that we always burnt a stick of incense before the shrine of St Christopher. Nor can I agree that the One Mind you imply. 74 . This syndrome of ideas and doctrines. This Other Power is the Amida of Shin Buddhism. help. as any other device or means to an end. The attempt will bring you fresh experience. Zen finds no use for that concept. or the Essence of Mind. a raft on which to cross a river. but in practical terms its meaning is clear. 'suchness'. these are terms which are certainly not religious and are not the equivalent of the Christian God. nothing save guidance. Zen practice has no use for God. like who told Try. So far. as an early member of the Society in Paris thirty my wife and me confidentially that he was a good Buddhist. then to be cast aside. Sunyata. on our safe arrival in France! So come to terms with your God concept. light or salvation. The outside is only a projection of the inside. no thing at all. Tathata. strength and weakness. Yours Godfully. Reality and the way to it. If it were useful it might be used. or whimsically admit that God. events are reflections Western philosophy of thoughts. good and evil. a suggestion of a foot put wrong. Is he now necessary to you. What this is in terms of I know not perhaps Very Absolute Idealism! I know not. a hint as to a better way. and to no person or Person or God for Not even to a Zen Master for he can give you nothing. With no prayer needed there is no need for One to is whom to pray. This rationally impossible but religiously perfectly possible. things are thought-begotten. the patron of travellers.

and is technical the Arhat the fourth. a pupil of the Master Morya. level one degree or stage or initiation higher. for if we are going to be temple. pared to anything you ask me to bear with you while you compare it with everything you know I will do so. Sinnett) Zen Masters? This involves definitions. P. however tenuous. and gone through the further training which entitles him to teach. The two Mahatmas of the Mahatma Letters were the Master Morya. wrote this outline in her various less of the needs of even as 75 . Bodhisattva is a far more casual term. the SELF incarnate in my terminology. P. but I will do my best. But as all. of the esoteric (because at that time unpublished) teaching. or member of the 'Church' at Dr Hisamatsu. a Kashmiri Brahmin. on cosmogenesis and anthropogenesis. Blavatsky. as compiled and collated and checked by generations of such self-perfected men. Atman. as a popular tribute to his holiness of life and loftiness of aspiration. Such 1958. or briefly. and in particular the two responsible for The Mahatma Letters to A. which is the Spirit in man of St Paul. though I may be brief and brutal in my comparisons. which I loathe. A Mahatma means mafia. and the Master Root Hoomi. who may or may not be an Abbot. a great soul. great. who had trained her in Tibet. a Rajput. now that Zen cannot be comand that you take it for what it is. Gandhi was called Mahatma. has proved as much to his master. but it may be a term of high respect for one who is openly self-dedicatedtoworHngforhumanity regardself. I take a Zen master to be a man trained in the traditions and think you appreciate well enough at technique of the Zen School of Buddhism who has achieved his Enlightenment. and the Rishi or asekha y 'masterless'. Such men are apttobe called Bodhisattvas. H. Towards the end of last century they attempted to make known to the West an outline. It may mean the Buddha-to-be. The Indians call them Rishis but the Buddhist terms are far more vague. Are the Mahatmas of India. I think such a man is higher than the Arhat level of the Theravada School. all. at least Arhat level. But now you ask.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY LETTER 19 Dear I Silver. or hold any other office in a may not be a monk. for there is no truth in them. and is therefore. who visited the Society at Easter. He is then a roshi.

ZEN COMES WEST
works of which the greatest was the Secret Doctrine, published in 1888 in two volumes. Meanwhile the two Masters made the remarkable experiment of corresponding with a gifted Englishman, A. P. Sinnett, then Editor of an Indian newspaper, and giving him by correspondence an outline of the doctrine which he collated and reproduced in a beautifully lucid book called Esoteric Buddhism. On Sinnett's death these Letters were published in volume form now editing a third (as one of the Trustees for the book I am A. P. Sinnett. These three edition) as The Mahatma Letters to books, therefore, all stem from the knowledge of those two Masters. But note that they were concerned with giving the West a new presentation of the immemorial wisdom, with doctrine rather than the way by which the individual might attain the level of their masterhood. With the way they were only primarily concerned in
explaining to Westerners ignorant of its first principles the method of teaching used in the East from time immemorial, of the Guruchela relationship and all that it implies. They were teaching would-

be pupils what pupilage entailed, no more, and you will not find in these books a hand-book to the mind's development in Zen
or in any other school of spiritual awareness. When I gave a talk in Karachi a long time ago on Buddhism and Theosophy I complained that Theosophy, the old name re-used for the ancient

Wisdom, contained no

specific way of life. 'It does not claim to/ an old and extremely learned Theosophist. 'The religions gently said and schools do that; Theosophy is the Wisdom.' So you will not

find in the Letters any specific course of spiritual training, though I for one have found more help in them than in any book in the

world save one, and that was a later work of 'H.P.B.', The Voice of the Silence, which she translated from an extremely ancient Buddhist Scripture well known in the esoteric schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Some are not impressed by it; my own copy, signed by the Dalai Lama, is all I take with me to read when I go long journeys. But that is by the way. But the Mahatmas, or Masters of the Wisdom, or Brothers, (they have endless names in many languages), have at some time had their Enlightenment, and when they are teaching their pupils no doubt speak from the plane of Prajna as does a roshi, and what they teach will be the same. But to the extent that a roshi is contained in my definition, and belongs to a specific school and

PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY
technique of self-achievement they are not roshi. Will that do? But read the section of the Mahatma Letters on Probation and Chelaship for yourself. Much of it is dead history, but the men mentioned,

and failures, are you and me, for there is but one human character, and when tested the true man appears. Ignore the word Theosophy, which in the last half century has acquired
their successes

unfortunate accretions of meaning. The Letters are beyond the accidents of any 'movement', and talk of eternal things. Would that I knew a tithe of the Wisdom which the Masters gave to Sinnett,
for in all

Buddhism,

as published, I find

but a part of the titanic

the Masters teach and practise in ceaseless and deathless work for the spiritual salvation of their

sweep of cosmic

Wisdom which

mankind.

So that's

that.

Now get on with Zen, directly, fiercely and without
Yours Comparatively,

comparison.

LETTER 20
Dear Brampton,

You

it strange that anything 'so dynamic and complete as should get on happily without a First Cause or a specified Zen' end. What I had to say to you about God was on the religious side this is in the field of philosophy and therefore of the concepts of the

find

;

But surely you now appreciate that First Beginnings and Ultimate Ends are both beyond the range of the intellect? We can know about it and about but we cannot know what preceded the first blush of the first dawn of manifestation. We can give it a name, but does that help? The Buddha said that speculation on these imponderables was waste of time, for the answer whatever it was helped not at all in the whole-time and immediate task of selfintellect.

enlightenment.

Your query, 'what is satori?', though of course unanswerable much more pertinent, for it may well be said that we ought to have some idea of the thing we seek. Well, looked at from the
is

plane of duality, on which we now live, satori is a sudden breakthrough of consciousness from the world of dualism to absolute awareness of things as they are, beyond any distinction and the
least trace of duality.

Looked

at

from

its

own

plane (and I can't),

77

ZEN COMES WEST
presumably timeless, in that it takes place out of time, and its duration can therefore not be measured, and as it involves a complete merger of the knower and the known it follows that we shall not know when we are in it! But this at least gives us a criterion by which to measure the genuineness of any experience, for where the person concerned is consciously enjoying the experience it is not
it is

satori!

The difference between satori and Nirvana or Heaven or anything
of that ilk
is,

as I understand

it,

this

;

first,

that the former

is

only

a foretaste, the beginning of true enlightenment and not the end. Secondly, it is attainable at any state of grace or morality or intellectual attainment, here in this world, and as easily when peeling
potatoes as when meditating in a cloud of incense. Third, being a break-through to the Absolute, and nothing less, it is utterly beyond all trance-condition or other exalted state of the relative consciousness.
is

That is why, to be technical, Dr. Suzuki insists that Prajna beyond that Dhyana or meditation which produces the quietness of Samadhi. Satori is known by all as a flash, timeless, complete, bearing its own authority, and stamped with such certainty as to place the knowledge so obtained beyond the reach of argument The knower and the known are and discussion of any kind
far
.

.

.

fused in one awareness. In that 'moment* self is not, nor knowledge. But how useless are words. Walk on, and may you Satori is
.

.

.

learn

what

I

am

talking about. After that

we

another, but as those who share a secret knowledge light of life and maketh all things new.

can but smile at one which is the

Yours hopefully,

LETTER 21
bit muddled as to what you want. I think you now Zen is a whole-time job, and that is why the Zen masters insist on having their pupils' undivided attention for twenty four hours a day. You see that Zen is not a new activity to be fitted in with a dozen others, and not to be examined to see *if there is something in it*. But do you yet know what you are trying to get? You know that it is within, and that it is your mind which must be adjusted to become consciously aware at will of its essential

Dear Martha, You still seem a
appreciate that

78

PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY
nature.

man

The difference between an enlightened and an unenlightened is, as Hui Neng points out, that one knows that he is en-

lightened and the other does not. But still you talk of study as though that in itself will lead you to Zen. It can't, can it? Study has its uses, first to assimilate the
principles of the traditional Buddhist ways of thought; secondly, to use those principles to modify and perhaps replace the existing

trends of thought, for they are often opposed to and incompatible with your upbringing. And thirdly, to develop the intuition by

which alone you will in the end achieve satori. That is all. No knowledge of doctrine, however profound, will itself produce satori. For remember always that it is not a state of relative knowledge, however high, nor of understanding, however deep. In satori the self that studies ceases to be you are merged with your subject of thought. Two has become one and therefore indescribable. Let me rub this in. You know of what is called mystical experience, and Maryknows more of it first-hand. Mystics break through to a fused awareness of Self and Reality, finding the Ideal, often personified,
within.

Whether
is
is

in a Vision* or

moment
is

of ecstasy

it is

a

moment

which

timeless, of absolute awareness,

to satori. This

why Zen Buddhism
is

utterly ledge' of the greatest scientist or thinker in the realm of concept, though the intuition illumines all great thought. These intellects know about the mystic knows, and the Zen wallah in satori knows

of Buddhist mysticism. This

and is akin, of course, sometimes called a school different from the 'know-

so fiercely that he does not

knower

is

no more

he

is

Why not? Because the with the knowledge. Thus you merged
!

know he knows

are trying to break through from the relative to the Absolute, from the everyday world based on comparisons to the inner world of the essence of things, from becoming to Being, from the forms of

any of them, to the direct living of life itself. How? One practice to regard the pairs of opposites perpetually as such, and the apparent distinctions between them as unreal. Take men and women.
life,

is

are complementary, and neither is better, any more than better than day or positive better than negative in electricity. night Effort and rest, strength and weakness, Jung's introversion and

They

is

extroversion, these are pairs, like the two sides of a penny. If these do not quarrel as to which is the better, heads or tails, need

79

is even more training one necessary in Zen. as you put it. If at some time into the day one packs one's breathing exercises (anyhow good for the health of all foul-air- breathing Londoners). and for this reason. quarrel? For these are one thing seen as two things in a world of relativity. 'if all is un- real.ZEN COMES WEST we. I like to visualise the universe as stretched between two poles then I let go of the elastic suddenly. all things illusion. Secondly. a period of study. to remain at least less attached to mundane affairs. Ping! There's only ONE left. (I I could do a drawing of you doing it). Thirdly. and to absorb and so apply these new ideas and values. it gives a needful stimulus to the habit of selfcontrol which. useful and even necessary at all times. Now you most reasonably ask.. it helps one. Dr Suzuki often refers to it as the danger of antinomianism. as you know. good and evil just a pair of opposites and both no more important than the other. as a perpetual aid to working up and maintaining the state of being 'mindful and self-possessed' at all times of the day. the consideration of the fortnight's 'theme' at odd moments and the recollection of the Shrine at 12. Answer it and you have the secret of Zen. First. a period of meditation. And the duality is all illusion. and to shift the emphasis from money-grubbing or household chores to the movement of the higher mind towards enlightenment. am wish is to free oneself from all fetters do I insist on members of my Class assuming a new set under the name of discipline? I will tell you. that's a Zen koan. Good hunting! LETTER 22 Dear I Silver. I looked this up and found the Antinomians were a 80 sixteenth century German . then what the hell?' What does it matter how we behave and what we do? This danger has long been foreseen and in the Zen temples guarded against. why. etc. it is helping one to cut new grooves of thought towards a non-materialistic way of living. glad you are 'wriggling out of the tramlines of thought'. if the object of the exercise. with our intellect versus emotion. so we find. There are four main reasons. At an early stage in Zen is apt to arrive at the dangerous half-truth. And where does the ONE go? Well. 6 and 9. We can see both of them one after another but never both at once (like the two sides of the coin).

and a little discipline prevents one lapsing into that error. When the terrier will come to heel when called he can be let off the lead. that it begins with facts as found. that we only need to use this force to restrain ourselves in adult life because of the wrong way we were handled in our infantile desires when young. 'wearing the Yellow Robe internally. I think the practice helps one to live the monastic or monkish life all day. Still that loneliness? is You trouble me. Like the Buddhism from which it sprang it is scientific in this. Finally. "not as kill-joy or dreariness sect who is there it. When no longer needed it relaxed utterly. Judge put true. what is more important. I can put it another way. So the Awful Warning. one part of a twin-unit of Mind-animal. Is this animal to be like an untrained randy fox-terrier.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY held that the moral law is not binding on Christians. it And you F with your naturally mystical temperament know 81 with . One manifest in the Many? If the latter is the higher ideal. LETTER 23 Dear Mary. as It W. cats and girl friends as it pleases. Meanwhile start whistling and see what happens. or is it to be as the centaur. as the union of spirit-matter. for you know as well as I that Life one. is self-discipline But it must be self-applied. with animal necessities which are natural. and will riot come to heel called. and develops thought and action from that but. This may be so. . but Zen starts from where we are and not from where we ought to be. Q. Yours in need of discipline. and that all of us are truly 'members one of another'. intelligently self-applied must help towards it. and. but still animals. As for the lead. which chases starting point. and with their now hairless bodies all dressed up like performing poodles. . as a may be about me as animals rather cleverly balancing on two legs. life and form.' most learned gentleman put it to me once in class. animal desires which are equally in one sense 'natural'. for a known purpose and to a known end. The deafness of my animal is quite amazing. one end is attached to me and the other? You wait till I do grab that animal . when the enemies. I amuse myself at times looking at those We are all part animals.

Walk on. You know. the Wisdom-heart. illusion and the busy hands of self that would rob you of the greater life in which that self must die. for the hills beyond. Life begins when the flame of Bodhicitta.ZEN COMES WEST more than the mind. I have faced the class again and again with Compassion as a theme for meditation and daily thought. there must be a time of misery. It is all very well to prove that it is the twin of Wisdom. walk on through the valley. As you know. insufferable pain. maybe. the dawn of true compassion. and individual salvation or Nirvana becomes impossible. Not that there will then be pleasure. in your deepest awareness. In that great Brotherhood there is always room for recruits. There will instead be pain. and instead of blaming every thing and person under the sun for his own shortcomings. but with the awakened heart of love for all that suffer and the will to relieve that suffering until that day when the last blade of grass shall enter into Enlightenment. the 'dark night of the soul' as the Christian mystics called it. the home in which not only Truth and Beauty and Love abide but all of us. that can assume the sorrows of mankind. and the birth of a new worker to assist that body of Great Ones who labour mightily. untiringly. When all that once gave pleasure is dust and ashes. how much greater the will. with few great virtues. Jung talks and knows somewhere of the bravery of the man who consciously withdraws the great part of his projections. How then to you can life or any human being or Zen itself be 'cold?' It is you that have built that icy barrier about you. and all that we gained seen as a piling up of sand that waits but the incoming tide. But this won't do. This is the dawn of the Bodhisattva. even just inside the door. but we are dedicated from that moment to work for the benefit of all mankind. and it is the child of ignorance. Within that Brotherhood. Pleasure will not for a long time be so pleasurable. and plenty of faults and failings. as one who sees for the first time something of that 'mighty sea of sorrow formed of the tears of men'. We cannot. that he can do practically nothing about it. and large the heart. the heart of the world. But if it needs such courage to face our own troubles and deficiencies. I can will rise give no other help to you. between the old life and the new. can there be talk of loneliness or of the coldness of humanity 82 . is born in a heart that sees now what an illusion is the world about us. faces his own shadow and consumes it. for the sake of all. to give it philosophic basis and emotional support.

and every variety of Christian. with scientists. And so on. that it is to be found by the intuition.PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY or the long night of sorrow. Buddhist. business men and housewives. but are you yet integrated as between East and West. and what am I? Much time must therefore be spent in working this mixture into an amalgam of one- As for the Class. artists. That it is not cold. to find it. They are now generally aware of the basic principles which must be well rubbed in before they can begin to move in the direction of Zen with any profit. teacher or God. both sexes. and anyhow may I remind you that I am a schoolmaster and not a Zen master? The most I claim is to be the patient. or Japanese. first I as a whole. they know that Zen is beyond the reach of thought. (did I hear you say ages with education almost nil 'at least?'? You shall be well beaten) to University degrees. or of Zen? Fie on you! the work is heavy and the labourers are few. 83 . with your Western unconscious and all? Certainly many others in the class are not. Of course you want what you call the advanced stuff. humble trainer of potential raw material. with introverts and extraverts and all varieties of Jung's four groups. leaving the Master to teach 'entrechats dix' and the finer subtleties of Giselle. or a new religion. And that I am not a Zen Master All this is largely negative. to be found within and in no book. can't be proved. LETTER 24 Dear Bungy. You seem to be well integrated in the Western psychological sense. lawyers and psychologists mixed with civil servants. . for Yours beside you. but have you learnt the early lessons yet? I doubt if I have and IVe been at it twenty years longer than you (in this incarnation at any rate). and that it needs courage and guts galore. What now? We need something more . must get my very mixed family to work from 20 to 70. Don't be so impatient. Theosophist and Jew what a chameleon is needed. and will not be achieved by being good or by metaphysical speculation. . With pointed interest in Zen. a whole time job and not an added activity. In Ballet terms I teach the exercises at the barre for the training of muscle control. Get busy. applied and long sustained.

consolidating every foot of the way. It is better so. And it is this. I can do no more.ZEN COMES WEST positive to turn them wants Why. or the More or whatever be your analogy. me a violent fellow. my Dharma for this life. So I began to proclaim was 21 then. For the coming session. and shall go on proclaiming it until I die. Until then I teach what I know. And you? Don't wait for me. He taught the Way . with gusto or with deep exhaustion. therefore. in grim pursuit of my self- appointed task. nor peaceful. I of it. for the benefit of all mankind. Yours proclaimingly. 58 now. 'the greatest as the holiest man that ever lived'. proclaim the Doctrine glorious. peace. not too fast begin. but it is wise to live awhile in each new landscape we achieve. Meanwhile to the lazy I preach bloody warfare to the violent.a depressing when you think you are moving to the Light. But love me a little at times. and How?' of the search. I am do walk on unceasingly. for forty years. I shall have need it. . . That is all. night and day weekends included I have walked. You think sole virtue is that I not. the benefit of gods and men. and trod it far enough to see that it will lead to that end. I shall into themselves to answer.' I found that way. The Buddha was a man who became the All-Enlightened One. from walking on. 'Go ye forth . a master of Zen. the All-Compassionate One in the words of a lesser Master of the Wisdom. We must not cease again. 'What do I want Who Then what? lest I think the very effort slow deepening produce its opposite. and we have to move forward slowly. my dragging the whole of me up the mountain path with blood and sweat but also with a savage joy and much unholy laughter. for . I would not dare do less. and to his Bhikkhus said. to that attainment. But if we press too hard we are pushed back patiently. One day another will arise in the West who will be a master of that Wisdom. Well or ill.

Yet finding the result of a one-pointedness far finer than most of us can achieve. according as we use it. Do you want Zen. and please do not infuriate me with foolish talk of 'No effort is needed. or battering ram. Only when the whole of our energy is concentrated on the point so fine that it is but nominally there at all shall we succeed. to pierce through our present self-made barriers of ignorant thinking and clinging which bar us from the Light. and may not even ask you. and behind that tool. If 85 . for it is you that need to know them. Summer School to is over we can get down do with Zen is in the mind I shall begin with asking you four questions. is the whole strength of the will. the total power of the much harder is Zen is man. and you have some concept of the penetrating power needed. Just be natural. as I believe. I do not mind what the answers are. spontaneous and let go*.CHAPTER V THE WAY OPENS LETTER 25 To Members of the Zen Class: Now to a that the annual year's work. Think of a thousand-ton pressure behind a battering ram with the point of a needle. You have to find the answers. and if so have you any clear idea of what it is you want? You cannot find a needle in a haystack without some idea of the appearance of a needle. How it to find Zen which has no shape at all. or needle. The first is: What do you want? The second: Who wants? The third: Why? The fourth: Where are you looking? Which is much the same as: How do you new As everything expect to find? The first is not easy.

What is it. there is the Self. the Dhammapada. the 'shadow* with which you must sooner or later come to terms. ask yourself the next question. tremendous will-power to be natural. heaven-quaking desire. They may be right. your emotions to get an emotional kick out of the experience. vast self-control to be spontaneous. so to speak. and surely this is obvious. They say there is no self of any kind or spelling. Because. for if tell his all pupils to ask themselves that else answered would be answered too. the best of you. why do you times. Is that all? How can How can we gain Enlightenment if its seeds are not already within? How can there be change and becoming and the formed be? unless there is indeed an Unchanging. That minutely directed want being assembled and rightly directed. it needs great will-power to break through to Zen. you are satisfied that you know what you want and that you truly and desperately want it. one of the greatest Masters of the Wisdom head of modern times. There is the self you despise in you. but the Buddha did not say so. not do it it? I will tell you. to discuss it proudly in terms of concept large and small. who wants? Your intuition? What I. and their own favourite scripture. Formless Be-ness of which what you they are the shadow in the world we know? Call THAT 86 . Who am /? I am told that the late Maharshi of India. wants Zen? Your body. for which I am so fiercely castigated by orthodox Theravadin Buddhists. and is what is intuition speaks. I will then permit you to drop it! Meanwhile. as a man whose is held under water wants air. and how long did it take them to achieve? I repeat. at what level.ZEN COMES WEST that is so. that learns and grows and suffers and walks on it to its own and the world's enlightenment. with boasting to one's friends the intellect. as I have said a needs tremendous energy to let go. want. I will allow you to be brilliant and tell me that all desire is the root of suffering and leads to no good when I am satisfied you have the guts to produce a real earth-shaking. makes the distinction clear in a dozen places between Self and self. it says. Who do you know that has achieved it. Self and SELF. 'Self is the lord of self. though the technique used may be as simple as hundred peeling potatoes If all the live-long day. or it discovers yourst Do you know when the there a flash of knowing? So who wants Zen? You know my 'working division' of the self. would question only. ask yourself: Who wants? The answer is not the facile T.

It is. is inward. your pride? men. 'Skill in means' (upaya-kausalya) ranks as a tremendous virtue in Mahayana Buddhism. it much energy and time to spend that we do not get on faster. saves waste of energy and leads the self the Universe grows F). and none better! This is my pace. and the means can be as important as the end. for the Self of one is the Self of all. Good October 1958. assist beyond and the selfish self is dissolved away. more swiftly to results. seems. Ask yourselves these answered. as the Buddha sent his Bhikkhus forth to preach tha Dhamma? Or why? It is well to know. Christmas Humphreys. Meanwhile the wise man. All work. the return of the is it to the One. then. What. like all else. all is done by some device or means to the chosen end. so questions. it For convenience. for self-improvement. hinder it finally smashed by the relentless flow. All achievement is achieved by method of some sort. falsely imagined). that is.THE WAY OPENS will. Some plan of action. the other works on the grand scale knowing that all which affects the whole must affect each part. and it will soon prove fundamental. and that the distinction is. and see that they are Then return to your complaints. But remember one of the most truthful games invented Snakes and Ladders . does* Find out! Why? Why seek for Zen? That is the third question. The rest is a matter of technique but not to be despised. on which you have. As one of you has truthfully announced to me. But why we do what we do is of profound importance for it is the motive for any act which makes it 'right* or 'wrong'. and the obstacle is hurt and So why do you want Zen? For the benefit of gods and For your enlightenment. then. or outward. but it is not yours or mine. (Later we may come to see that the means is indeed the end. . and of the One to that which Such is the flow of the cosmic tide. helping or hindering the return to wholeness of all creation. Speed your own if you will and then come back to teach us. ('Forgoing many all difference. you get the teacher you deserve. having decided what of him wants what and why. however fluid. is well advised to study how. The one type works in miniature. having no fear of names or concepts. for the salvation of all mankind. . 87 hunting. leaving unity. It does not want Zen for it is Zen. reflecting our several types of introvert and extravert. . I call SELF.

Face it. makes you more aware of your basic unhappiness. behind the high walls of your illusion? The answer is all the rest of the forms of life. employers and the burden of unnumbered days of hopeless. or. And it is selfish because it is blind to circumstances. miserable thing that struts and brags and strives to add to itself Put it in the dustbin and let's begin to live. The cause of suffering. a palace of beautiful women. And even if you were 'happy' at some moment? What have you wilfully forgotten. beauty. I have no envy for the allegedly happy. those who grieve for loved ones lost and those who are bound. demonstrable facts is the cause of our suffering. Of course the turmoil I apologise for saying that I am of your new internal efforts makes you unhappy. then. for its is you opposite. he would never have gone forth to find the cure for suffering and. friends and so on. . You are better without it. stayed on earth to offer it to all mankind.ZEN COMES WEST LETTER 26 Dear Mary. for we strive to live as if the opposite were true. unhappy. They are mostly fools wandering vaguely in a fool's paradise. our craving to add to this unreal. health. having found it. or so they seem. . rather. trap. But it must be temporary. That is why he sought and found enlightenment. to hateful relatives. Which is basic Buddhism. apparently superficial (self)-satisfaction with circumstances. useless at night to earn money for a crippled younger brother (yes. For had the Buddha. that the thing we call self is no exception and that our ignorance of these basic. What is this happiness you have lost? A general. stable condition of achievement. as never before. Hence Buddhism. that life is changing. for all An changing all the time. somewhat smug. which involves looking for the cause of the unhappiness. delighted to hear you are unhappy. is our selfish desire. So was the Buddha. is the best of all spurs to right effort. those stories are true at times). your brother the man next door who is dying of cancer. unhappiness. When are sufficiently unhappy you look for a cure. your sister the tart on the streets . been content with the ingredients of happiness provided him. millions of hopeless lovers. as a young prince in his father's palace. and the conditions which create that happiness today will be gone tomorrow. your child the rabbit in the and the 88 . wealth.

mentally? The utterly frustrated. : a fool's paradise. deep compassion for suffering in all its forms about us. to help you see that you are to be envied. I stupid ones. You are going to a show which you like? You will be pleased. the jeered at ugly. pain. as I have often said. Either way you are fettered by your like-dislike. when I sat at my desk as the pupil of a famous barrister) 'The happiness which most men seek not the happy ones. (largely in the Temple. unshakeable. the human soul Requires no other heaven. . illusion. And Am You are free now to snap out of it. whether you should or shouldn't. untouchable. You will learn to rise above the domination Do you see what I mean? Growl and grumble and complain to all and sundry. of your admitted. not back into but into joy. accepted like-dislike. So what? To the extent you like you will be unhappy if you can't go and that you dislike you will be pleased if you don't have to go. these two ways. for it can only is be obtained by ignoring the misery of our fellow men.THE WAY OPENS living. but get on with it. Whether you work to self-expansion or to self-forgetfulness is immaterial. and hate enormously and loudly. piling this on? I am. working happily to dry one drop of that 'mighty sea of sorrow formed of the tears of men*. And I quoted Shelley in Queen Mab: For when the power of imparting joy Is equal to the will. take it on the jaw. the frightened ones who see but penury ahead. Just be unhappy. and will be rewarded with gleams of joy of an inner harmony and balanced. serene with happiness open eyes and all awareness. Our very efforts to find happiness for ourselves prevent us finding it. are complementary. Then we begin to ignore pleasure. but caring less which it happens to be! You are going to the dentist and he will hurt you? He will hurt you. which was taken in turn from my What is Buddhism} which I wrote in 1926-7. not failing to notice which is which. working. a condition of self-inducement. Therefore I stand by what I wrote in my Pelican Buddhism. a halting by the way-side to pluck the poisoned fruits of self. then laugh and to hell with it! Enjoy what you like intensely. go through with it. True happiness is only to be found in ceaseless effort on behalf of suffering mankind'. But both involve facing the shadow of our baser selves.

Now put it on again. You'd better weep on Mary's shoulder now that you are such friends. Listen as hard as you usually look. that you cannot in meditation look at anything without wanting to draw it or paint it or do something about it. (b) accepted that fact as quite right and proper and (c) were not therefore wasting time on trying to be happy. When so much time is spent on trying to be happy there is little left for gaining happiness. even Zen. you have Get on with it. It's raining hard. but yours joyfully. 90 . The whole vast universe is but a turning wheel of ever-becoming. a cold and nobody loves you. That to me would be excellent material for marching forward. I noticed the other day were wandering round the it your whole or even half your when you put on a Bach Chorale you Studio humming the tune but not giving attention. Just become it. I should like to see 30 (a) unhappy people in the class who knew they were unhappy. as you know perfectly well with your head and. and not pleased at my saying Hurray. But I am quite firm on the matter. So what? phone won't work. Even as you have as an artist learned to look at things until you become them. I seem to remember it used to give you enormous happiness Unhappily yes. so seek Zen without seeking it. comes from ceasing to seek anything for yourself and swimming happily with the tide of the Great Cosmic Purpose (most Victorian) to the inward peace which is the fruit of ceasing to seek anything at all. LETTER 27 Dear Sally. Incidentally you raise another point. So you are another unhappy one. can you find Zen but I must get you out of this silly mood.ZEN COMES WEST But don't stop. For happiness. She too is most unhappy. . Try a tin of Turkish Delight. what a letter. push its face in. I suspect your heart. . lost your reading goggles and also your sense of the Eternal. So be unhappy. when you think it seriously matters if you have torn your mackintosh. for the seeking is itself a dual state of mind / want that which is two things. Yes. when there is only one in Reality. All right. Listen. . and all these trivial differences of the pairs of the teleopposites are of no importance at all. yell with laughter and WALK ON ! How Golly.

become it. seemingly unrelated here and there. . two superimposed and contrary drawings in the middle and so on very bad art (save by the most modern methods of technique) but the result. to build up a picture of the Thing in the Middle which. with a picture (painfully dim at times) in my mind. as our old gardener used to say. and that it binds in the world of duality THAT which is not. I think at times. would seem to be successful. the larger unit is a unit of humanity. and grow with you. as fast as some Now let us consider Direct action. LETTER 28 To Members of the Zen Class. laying new foundations. So far in the present course we have laid foundations. Your reaction to my last letter a month ago has been so violent that I must answer the answers collectively. . an area of red in another. Use your completely. and then I paint it by touches. You will have ceased to be for a while and that is Zen or as near as damn it. And I see facets of myself in all your failings and findings.THE WAY OPENS utterly. the excitement and the joy of it. though of you. partly negative. an impression instead of a single step painting I of my understanding to you. I see the vast majority of your minds and means of progress in San-zen. Incidentally. In terms of have marked out a large canvas. Become all ears. and follow the sound Flow in it. not. clearing away rubbish. the exercise will make you happy again. that is the word. but not with happiness whole as if . I have adopted the Eastern technique of teaching. and with it. Yours choralically. Sit back and relax will to be there. the emotion. and at the end fall back exhausted with the glory. if you stand well back. So now we can look at our individual and collective progress. for some of you. conveys. By using a vast variety of concept and emotion one may avoid the evils of concept. all of which takes place of course within. you see the great variety of types as you sit in class. a sketch in this corner. and partly positive. surge with it. that it shuts up the flight of the mind in a box. fall with it. not because I want to at the 91 . in it. by approaching the same subject by a score of different directions by step approach from one.

porter. Christmas Humphreys. leave sooner. and situations . if it is a convenient opportunity for that most refreshing experience. Here is a an hour to I arrive at the all others. fear of the consequences of missing the appointment. emotion and the like between self and circumstance. But how wonderful! What a chance to take exercise and breathe fresh air. I emotions to surge through my mind annoyance. are still there. regret I can allow did not Or (and possibly and) by cursing the hurling mental taxi driver I my feelings onto objects around. directly or indirectly. LETTER 29 Dear I Silver. my I can project and so on. and there situation to be faced. as is platform to find my train wait for the next. circumstance as please get out of the attitude that I am to throw you objects for direct action. doing nothing. Don't you want to get out? You will agree that Zen is Zen. and I soon gave up trying to understand A by describing it in terms of B. here. impatient spirit abroad. Tackle all directly why wait for me? So let it be more direct by all means. whatever it is. But note this. of thought. is direct action. as I see it. a direct adjustment of the mind to the it is. each of you. blame on the railway company. now. I used that phrase myself. but I can learn. Well? How then can it be 'a mysticism of the will'? All right. like stones for a dog to pursue and bring back. but get on with it. ! with this Yours directly. an empty hour. Things So and events and of them and people are all about you. Let us suppose just leaving. Why then out of your way to call it a Roman chariot with four wheels and go am sorry that the bars 92 . It may be direct action to sit with hands in lap. but there is a peevish. all of you. November 1958. to make notes for that lecture. have an hour. A bus is a bus. without erecting a mass of concepts. Or I can face the situation and accept it.ZEN COMES WEST moment. that direct action is an attitude of mind and not a choice of subject or object. to meditate in the waiting room or walking up and down! That. as hounds on the leash that wish to be let go after the fox of Zen. though thinner. kicking my bag when it falls off the seat. the weather.

But your question about emotion and the intuition needs thoughtful answering. and nothing will help you that is only about Zen.THE WAY OPENS driven by an internal combustion engine instead of a horse? Don't even call it a bus. any other 'part' of the total man. Zen is not about anything. ! by describing something you do not know when they hang a target over the man's heart. You see. does with very Why not? I have no authority for my answer. Only when you shoot Zen in the heart unaided. To misquote the poet. my own we talk of it. get out and forget it. subtle. you are which means confining in concepts in terms of something you do know. Indeed Bhakti Yoga. that form of Yoga which uses the emotions at their finest. what you are I use. T. but an onion in which the interrelations of the different parts are inconceivably complex. being the love-devotion to the Ideal in this form or another. or that with the finest matter for form. not in house. for the complex 'self' is laminated or built as a seven storey is The skins of an onion a better analogy. thought. pay your fare. not more and more about it. fact. the senses and all else. so reason and experience. reaches great heights with pure 93 . fascinating and complete. Why not. is it with light as after. so long as they do not have the devastating effect of making you pause to look at them. Can emotion lift to a point when the intuition floods I think. as I see it. Shoot You are guilty of the refinement of an execution by shooting. is the intuition (for Atman is not yours or mine). feeling. Go for it. It potentially irradiates. Have another go. as when in doubt. Walk on. I repeat. Good Shooting. and let them flash. So psychic visions are flashing merrily. The finest or subtlest or nearest the centre. No matter. You must take Bodhidharma's formula au pied de la lettre 'a direct seeing into the heart of man'. Let me repeat for the thousandth time. it high thinking? That. 'Seek thou me for what lam So under the illusion that shalt thou find me fairest'. Don't ask a friend to hold the rabbit for you while you shoot it with your little bow and arrow. will you not Zen fall dead. Get in. you learn but learn what? More about it! But that is not the road to Zen. LETTER 30 Dear Martha.

Steady. and of course I do not despise or derogate joy. But most of the Christian mystics. Receiving thoughts and messages. no longer the rough waves of samsara but the still pool of a higher consciousness. and it is interesting that he is a great student of Eckhart. I am sorry if I did not make myself clear on the subject of happiness. perhaps. because the winds pass through it as through spring flowers on an April day. Only Suzuki that I know today talks on the same plane. and the intellectual mystic is less common. a reaction to an awareness beyond emotion or feeble happiness. the mind is of a level it does not react to its imporcome. for in it we are more than we. Eckhart is. what a long Way away from the thing we crave for and call happiness! unaffected tunity. It is the negative. and the Persians that I have read. course it is Of better than unhappiness. Joy's quieter sister. a warm and self-consuming fire. I suppose. of Joy. for his intuitive awareness is only equalled by the dazzling brilliance of his metaphysics. Why? Because we feel one with them and love them all. but just as beautiful. Carry on. the supreme example of the latter. LETTER 31 Dear Mary. are more bhakti.ZEN COMES WEST devotion. unsullied with self. like you. and to the full. Joy is a flame. But lest you feel contented (the most loathsome condition known to man) let me add that you have still to develop your intellect. But this I think is a child of Prajna. We want to sing and dance and hug everything about us. Contentment can be to other temperaments much the same. it blows a kiss to them and lets them by. Indeed most mystics are intuitive-emotional. and if you flaunt your psychic powers at me I shall turn on mine and haunt you in the night! Yours emotionally. it slaps no labels on them. Mary is an introvert bhakti type. It is the serenity line. It is expansive. and embraces an enormous field about us. and extremely intuitive. But heavens. by any circumstances all for Taking things as they Yours joyfully. 94 . before you achieve. or even before you are accepted as a member of the Goal-Winners Club whose clubhouse is on the higher slopes of Zeneverest.

and others' praise or violent blame will unaifect you. Self-appraisal is different.THE WAY OPENS LETTER 32 Dear Sally. will pass. Walk on. You remember the story of the Indian King who ordered his jeweller to make him a ring on which would be engraved a sentence which would cheer him The jeweller in depression and deflate him in undue delight. and is steady as a flame that glows in a mood will . But I said 'appraisal'. You get out of the way and let are heights You painting or engraving or modelling happen. and unperceived by any but himself. subject to slapping it on experience. and perhaps the bumps are proportionate to the heights attained. change. You will know if it is good or bad. 95 .' I like that. We hung that in our dug-out during the bombing of London.. My love to you. creatively. The medium used is immaterial. returned with a ring on which was engraved. You will cease to care what others. a dance. as Trine put it. As a useful application of the doctrine of anicca. At your best you paint or engrave or model nothing at all. think of your work. 'It will pass'. Just be depressed. see. So your depression activity. for pass that cycle. and your appraisal alone matters.. The creative principle. a picture. is like unto a lofty tower up which a haughty fool has climbed. in your great moments you 'attach your belt to the power-house of the Universe'. and the inner content of a job well done the head if it begins to grow. it well. which is not self-appraisal (sorry). or rhythm of life is in you but not of you. O Lanoo. a nice is. Don't worry about your depression. Remember the Voice of the Silence: 'Self gratulation. worked many an artist works on a cycle of inspiration. So it windless place. We shall reach it. Thereon he sits in prideful solitude. save fellow artists perhaps. a speech or a book. You criticise objectively afterwards and make technical improvements (sometimes spoiling it thereby). and be replaced with creative And that satori is beyond goes on. There and there must be depths.

which is unbalance. The upper have no such fear.ZEN COMES WEST LETTER 33 Dear Bungy. 'Just what is this book all about? Why write at such length With such wabi and strength If the goose in the bottle is out?' The 'Your bewilderment can't be denied. Are you possibly clinging a little tightly to your freedom and poise? If so. T suppose you in the West have to be so intellectual!' But I think it most unfair that people should write and say they had the most marvellous experiences after reading it. There is a social class analogy which comes to me. 'But how can the goose Be Unless at last all on the loose inside?' the time it's Yours fatuously. when the poor author didn't when writing it! Meanwhile. you were as poised as you seem to think. you are spoiling it with pride. when the factors making for unbalance are removed. The middle class reach upward. which is self again. and a rung of the can afford to be uninhibited once more. nor will be till Enlightenment. and their terribly careful conduct Even if is inhibited all the time with fear lest they slip classes down ladder.' sat oric author replied. 96 . you have not really got it. Forgive me for saying so but you seem to be getting a wee bit smug over your 'balance' and 'poise* and no problems. We all have problems and none of us is truly balanced yet. riven with doubt. I am receiving 'rave' notices about Zen Buddhism in its new but do not allow myself to forget Dr Suzuki's own comment. Asked a new member. the following seems pertinent. On seeing the first copy he sighed and said. edition. The working classes are uninhibited in their knowledge and acceptance of what they are.

You say you are quite prepared to let the other fellow go to hell his own way. that they should? Surely with an eager and glad acceptance of the way the other one proclaims and teaches Buddhism? We cannot and should not all be the same. aren't members of a parish We G 97 . what arrogance to think that any decision should be made. not sneering. on the wrong road. i. It implies that you are quite convinced he is going to hell. at this moment. and then force the dissenters into the path chosen by the majority. why hinder him why not help'} Only such an attitude makes true co-operation possible. but if it is clearly what he wants and would be useful and happy in. in his present condition and state of development? Even wandering down a blind alley may be of making quite sure it is a right at times if there is no other way Look again at the definition of tolerance I took from blind alley.THE WAY OPENS LETTER 34 Dear Silver. Eager and glad acceptance that's positive. Cannot one of them teach Theravada. why not? It would not be right for you. Cooperation implies the free and willing working together of free units. But how are you so certain he is on the wrong road. and that you will graciously permit him to proceed. another Mahayana. now. Let's get this matter of tolerance and intolerance clear. for him. What impertinence. as is obvious. At the same time we must leave them to be different and not even but work for a synthesis which pleases no one. another a specific method of meditation and another indulge in Tibetan ritual? free to Why not? Why not leave each go its own way. Let's analyse that. and that if made it could be right to force the others into that majority way. How should they co-operate. and that they may be right. would you not actively help him to enter it? If not. an actual aid to their progress on that way.e. From individuals lift the level to schools. meeting as friends and colleagues and fellow Buddhists? But you want to decide once and for all which is right. still less for a compromise which would be worse. having mutual respect. we must genuinely admit that the others are doing what they think right and doing it their way. Take the Buddhist organisations in London. Annie Besant long ago 'an eager and a glad acceptance of the way along which others seek the Truth'. assuming. If you had a godson who was clearly 'called' to the Church.

Zen is a technique for transcending the duality of thinking and thus to achieve a 'moment' of satori. that in anything I say I may be wrong for that person at that time. on an age-long but hand in hand. for the germ of intolerance once settled in is hard to remove. To suggest. but pilgrims road to self-Enlightenment. and always to know. None of these is right or wrong. and please bring them up in Class. those working by right all who want know the time what to do. but probably right for that person at that time and place and that stage of development. and age and education? The introvert and extravert need totally different handling.ZEN COMES WEST council deciding where to put the new Memorial Hall. but with suggestions only. will. for heaven knows we need each other's help in the darkness of our common ignorance. so to speak. Your present question is difficult to answer precisely What has Zen got that the Western mystics haven't got? I think the answer is something. they should be allowed to do a hundred different things in as many ways. It is the stimulating effect of the new minds of new members. LETTER 35 Dear Mr Crashaw. Yours. even apart from the obvious differences of sex. which is Non-duality and therefore utterly . and we must remove it. which prevents us stagnating in a dull contentment. Don't apologise for asking questions. but it may be more in technique of achievement than . genuinely. ditto. As such we walk alone. And to the magicians or spiritual scientists. Is there a Zen type? Yes and no not a type but a frame of mind. call them Karma yogins. tolerant of all save intolerance. dogmatise and say that A or B or C should best approach this 'moment* in this or that particular way? Not L My job is to help each on his road to that end. in the advice I give. The natural mystics versus the natural occultists or ritualists or what you action. beyond thought. Think this over. The intellectuals and the emotional or feeling type. but never to com- Who shall mand. to guide as I may. How could I do what you seem to expect me to do in our Class to go the same way? Even if I produced the insufferable conceit to attempt it? Have you any conception of the and force everyone variety of minds in that group.

THE WAY OPENS achieved. as I have said. wondering how cold the water is. humbly-proud he is a man mi generis and either you long to be like him. You are or are not of that type I think you Whether you are the Zen type is for you to say I think you are. I know of no Western school of mysticism for the development of the what is faculty of the intuition by which that mystical experience is attained. with thought to attain No-thought. ever direct yet exquisitely balanced on the median line. First. The mystical type is as clear and easily distinguishable as the '. Here's to good diving. The Western mystic was largely bhakti yoga. scorning all abstractions and high-sounding phrases. and as I see it springs from a different temperament. strenuous. but he taught none and none followed him. of the devotional type Jung would probably classify them as introvert intuitive-emotional. he merely sought to preach what he had found to be true. or you do not like him at all. the tathata or suchness of things. The Zen man is unique in his approach. with no formulated Ideal. still less a personified Saviour or God. Few in the world have attained higher than Eckhart. however. are not. certainly it is very different from the equivalent flavour I find in the writings of recognised mystics. You are standing on the edge. is the fact that Zen is a school for the achievement of its goal. to work with him. That way you will not get wet. I see no difficulty in answering your question. striving to break all forms in order to remain Whole. whether European. Most of these were bhakti yogis. 99 . or far cry metaphysical in their approach to bursting through into the thing in itself. and Zen is the water. laughing. The technique is of course enormously different. This is a from the rumbustious. But to be practical. scientist or the artist. beyond-thoughtstriving youngster of a Zen monastery. with a line of teachers and pupils. fighting with self to get to No-self. via the higher realms of thought. Persian or Indian. But it is difficult indeed to convey the flavour or perfume of Zen effort as found in Japan. which is not the same thing at all. roaring with laughter while deadly serious. But first you must have courage to take the plunge. that is.

The nearest Western equivalent is the psychiatrist. one who knows more than he or can help him further. largely on a devotional basis. Let's get it clear. guarded secrets of. masters. kinks and lopsidedness. The Zen technique is enormously different. teacher and patient's mind. for the pupil to move to another teacher after due 'notice' and the . and you do not hand on the is . teaching graded by the teacher to the power of the pupil to assimilate. This is the real meaning of esoteric it is not that the master refuses to teach anything he knows. and be immensely patient. must have some intuitive powers to see the pupil-patient's needs. them weakens the group 100 . with complete freedom. barriers. him a little pupils should be 'as the fingers of one hand'. Deserve a better. shall interfere to the minimum with up He holds loving friend. The job is bonds and so be free. and that no man or God can give a man what he has is not got. how to 'see' things. 'Judge thou me by what I am. (if he or she will have you). however. how to help the pupil break his self-created how to help him to know that he is already enlightened. as one of you so rightly said. and push beyond. but you do not attempt to teach the Integral Calculus to a child of ten. it is for the patient to see in it his own complexes. But he must be impersonal. We seemed to be all tangled up the other night on Gurus. occult forces of the mind. find him.ZEN COMES WEST LETTER 36 Dear Bungy. The immemorial method of the East is the Guru-chela relationship. he can but lead the pupil to his own level. as they are. It is assumed that the pupil knows that the Absolute Itself is to be found within. to be personal. So shalt thou find me fairest/ I am. say. In a class. Then the pupil seeks another master. Of course the ideal teacher or master is at once priest. and move on. dislike. leaders and me. jealousy. who is trained so that his own views and personality his objective analysis of the a mirror. his self and the relationship of all of them. and there is no emotional reaction in any direction at the change. Is this clearer? I repeat. the teacher you deserve. and any personal envy or any other disturbing emotion between as such and makes the teacher's job more difficult. the For the rest. which is highly personal. until the pupil ready to develop those forces in his own mind. doctor. and to use them wisely and unselfishly.

THE WAY OPENS
Meanwhile
to work, as I

must that

I

may

the better teach.

With

love,

LETTER 37
Dear
Silver,

keep your eye on the ball, which is Zen. You are like a small child at the dentist; let's talk about the cat or the pictures on the wall, anything rather than have that tooth out. What do these

Do

you want Zen go for it, single- and wholeheartedly. Surely you can answer your question for yourself, but here is mine. You want to know the distinction between intuitive inspiration and the spiritualist's Voices'. The answer is that the Self is inconceivably complex, and you in your medicine deal with but the body and a vague and comparatively new discovery called the mind. The relationship between the parts of the whole are so elaborate no chart could include them, and all our talk of planes and faculties is futile if it claims completeness. It has its uses, however, and we must use some such analogy. Zen experience, then, comes from the Prajna plane through Buddhi, the intuition. It is quite unmistakable and he who asks if this is satori is answered. If there is doubt it isn't! But there can clearly be flashes of intuition
distinctions matter? If

short of satori, illumining intellectual understanding, (and perhaps emotional too). There are also intellectual 'jumps', when things

suddenly click into place. Buddhi is helping here. But psychic 'hunches', visions, etc. are of a different order, and pertain to the psychic plane. In terms of my lighthouse, the psychic, or astral plane is the third up; above it is the mind as thinking machine, concrete and abstract, then Buddhi. Buddhi knows the psychic awareness is almost always wrong, being mirror-wise to this plane, of substance finer and less fixed; and the eyes with which we see it,
;

by long
trained

and use clairvoyance, are only opened to see clearly on that plane training. There are psychics in thousands, and whole
still,

nations have 'the sight' in their peasants

and

reliable psychics does

one know?

A

but how many dozen? You are

fortunate!

And so to

spiritualism.

To

the extent that this involves a

human

medium going

negative and letting some discarnate entity speak or write through the deserted vehicles, it is unnatural and utterly

101

ZEN COMES WEST
evil.

That

of

all

the unanimous voice of the 'white' or true Teachers religions and schools of the Wisdom since the world began.
is
is

The

practice

as old as

man, but no better

for that.

From

the

crudest

to the Oracles of classic antiquity, from Madam See-all in a Mayfair flat to Bon Tibetan performances, all this is

Voodoo

unnatural, contrary to nature, and at our stage of evolution utterly and horribly wrong. It is more, it is dirty, as those who grub in the
dust-bin,
I

and

it

causes grave

know what

I

am

saying, being

damage to all three entities concerned. somewhat psychic. I have seen

the appalling inner condition of the medium, the degradation of morale, and I know the difficulties of helping those who, from the practice in this life or in past lives have lost control of their own

and just slide out at the will of anything, living or discarnate, that wishes to take control. This, of course, is profoundly different from the willing surrender of one's 'bodies' to the use of a
vehicles

higher mind. But the pupil so trained is extremely rare, and the adept who can use such a person is far rarer. One of the most

famous in modern times was H. P. Blavatsky, who consciously lent herself as the amanuensis, to some extent, of her Master Morya. But here is the vast distinction; she was conscious all the time, and knew precisely what she was writing. For her it was no more than telepathic dictation. The negative medium, on the other hand, has no knowledge of what has been happening when she was
'out of the body'.

The

evil

wrought?

To

the

medium; she

loses control of herself

so often that she ceases to have the power to prevent herself being pushed out by this and that of the many entities which crowd the

psychic plane. The Self as a unit disintegrates and with it her morale. Some keep control of themselves, most don't, and the living entity that uses such a medium pushes her down into the mud

each use, like using a prostitute. More, the user of the medium more and more on the 'messages' thus received, and the reliance on the Light within grows steadily weaker. Surrender to
relies

this un-spiritual control

makes self-reliance more difficult, and most unspiritual and utterly non-Zen. But that is not all. There is the invading entity to consider. It may be a hungry preta> or ghost, the disintegrating remnants of a human being, an elemental or some other non-human entity. If human, it is not the man we knew. He has passed on, on the karmic
such practice
is

102

THE WAY OPENS
tide,

and

if

he has

not, but

is

held as a

fly in

a

web by

the machina-

is delayed and tions of these black magicians, then his evolution back into the vortex. And what does affected by his being drawn

teach or say or write? Nothing of spiritual value, and generally new that was not already in the brain of the speaking not one word to vanish deceased. These shreds of clothing should be allowed his karmic complex of forces to move the man with utterly, leaving force till he is drawn back to incarnation by the still
'he'

learning, on, of that self's desire.

it all is, and how the and is disgusted to see the intelcultured Eastern mind marvels the West assembled round the dust-bin, or worse, the ligentsia of

What

a revolting picture

dabble with this evil-smelling refuse of the 'dear graveyard, to
departed*. So choose, a clean climbing to the Light, using the immemorial Wisdom offered you, or Voices' from a stinking graveyard, saying

nothing at

all.

There

is

no compromise. Yours fiercely, from experience,

LETTER 38
Dear Mary, Don't apologise
for talking of the Self and Atman and the One not? It is just as true as talking of the not-self Self within. and the not-Self and 'there is no self of any kind'. The difference

Why

seems to be to me one of emphasis and technique. I find the Theravadin insistence on no-self extremely dreary, and have found with it so since I first read it forty years ago. By all means learn self we call 'I' is nothing but a bundle of care and force that the But there is, of course, illusion, and ram that fact well into yourself.
as the Pali scriptures admit, though many of the modern were not an Uncreated, pundits hate to be reminded of it. If there

SELF,

Unformed, Unmade, how could there be, as there is, a created, formed and made world of samsara, of the everyday? And I claim a Self as well! (I am told there was a heretical sect of Pudgalavadins

who

good name for the and purifying and life, learning but expanding to Enlightenment. Call it Little Willy if you like, But get this into your curly head. you've got to call it something. That if you prefer the positive approach, as more fun and joy and
believed in Self
I

wish to revive
life

it).

It is a

thing which goes on from

to

103

ZEN COMES WEST
the

warmth and help to you, that all is SELF and in all forms we see ONE SELF, know this, that is just as wrong. It is also onesided, as the other
lies
is

one-sided and therefore incomplete. Truth

in the middle.

Yours

Self-ishly,

LETTER 39
Dear
Billy,

What
Zen
such

to study? There I can help you, though I do not dictate. is a school of 'direct transmission' of Enlightenment. As
it

has no scriptures of its own, and no sermons of even the greatest of its Masters which, as intellectual doctrine, must be accepted. It uses many scriptures, in particular the Diamond Sutra

and the Heart Sutra, which you will find together in Conze's Buddhist Wisdom Books, with commentary. The Lankavatara Sutra is enormous and you will find Dr Suzuki's Studies in the Lankavatara Sutra worth reading before you tackle his translation of the text itself. The Sutra of Wei Lang (Hui Neng) is easier reading and to many of us almost sufficient, but the lately published Zen
Teaching of Huang Po, translated by John Blofeld, is a worthy brother to it. But I say read anything that stimulates intuition.
just ring a bell as soon as you open them; others the intellect but leave that bell unrung. If asked to choose interest

Some books

a few in addition to the above I would add, first, the Tao Te Ching, because it is often described as the mother of Zen Buddhism (the
fierce

Bodhidharma being the father, of course). Then I would add The Voice of the Silence, translated by H. P. Blavatsky, described

by the late Anagarika Dharmapala, the greatest Buddhist missionary of modern times, as 'a pure Buddhist work' (I got my copy signed by the Dalai Lama when I knelt at his feet in Delhi). Then the Bhagavad Gita in some ways the greatest scripture in the world. The Dhammapada, the fourth Gospel, Eckhart and, though lower in level, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. I would add, perhaps
y

Omar Khayyam, for there is great stuff in it as well as great beauty. And of modern works perhaps the best work Dr Suzuki ever wrote, at any rate for its size, his Introduction to Zen
with a faint blush.
Buddhism.

And

finally,

my own personal
104

'Bible', the section in

the

Mahatma

Letters to

A. P. Sinnett on Probation and Chelaship.

LETTER 40 Dear Rodney. Very well. nor will it ever become yours. Then give yourself time to digest. but don't forget that one way to begin is by the elimination of the self in your own striving. by heart. what does said it who not in the sense of reading or where you found it? Your job is to study. that motive. May I quote your own favourite book for you. It is he alone who has the love of humanity at heart. who is entitled to the possession of our secrets.THE WAY OPENS But this is a purely personal selection. T say again then. and need not trouble you. but as you do one of your text-books. the Mahatma Letters? You probably know the passage. and that is Enlightenment. and the more thoroughly the process is carried out the better both for body and mind'. A man who places not the good of manwill never 105 . I know that you are keen to save the world. but it requires to be well-digested. learning. It has been said that it is always right to seek but that it must be for the sake of the knowledge self-knowledge and not for self. and find it where you it will. May I close with a quotation from those Mahatma Letters (p. writing to Sinnett about the purpose with which that men join the Theosophical Society. on page 252. or the advertisements in your intuition as true. if one must have one. as there will be no fear that he should turn them to selfish ends. 262). If the statement appeals to matter the Daily Mail. and not enlighten- Watch ment it as a for you. such a man misuse his powers. in Punch. It is easy in the enthusiasm of seeking for Zen to forget the purpose of the search. is intended to feed and help growth. then read it again. 'Knowledge for the mind. Still less enlightenment that you may proudly wear new and dazzling headdress and flaunt with revolting pride friends. You must find Truth. For the Light you seek is not your Light. Good studying. the Bible. as I do. It is the Master M. He alone. digesting. annotating and comparing. like food for the body. at all your you see yourself as a dedicated Bodhisattava living to that end. who is capable of grasping thoroughly the idea of a regenerating practical Brotherhood. There is only one right motive. But note that none of these works is in any sense authority for the truth of anything in it. set to work and save it. through the book.

ZEN COMES WEST
ind above his own good is not worthy of becoming our chela ie is not worthy of becoming higher in knowledge than his neigh>our
.
.

.'

So watch

that

you don't

spoil

your

fine ideals

and genuine

will

o serve humanity with private reservations about the glory in wait or the Saviour!

Good

saving,

LETTER 41
Dear Sally,

agree with you that art can be largely a matter of the emotions s the driving force, rather than the intellect, but don't take that oo far. Some of the greatest artists, using that term widely, have
>een mighty minds, and some art can be very largely 'cerebral* nd none the worse for it. But I agree that intuition can illumine

he emotions in their production of inspired craftsmanship, and hat satori can be approached and indeed gained at a work-beiich
>r

at the easel as easily as in purely intellectual pursuits. Indeed,

he history of the Zen masters shows pupils getting it during the nost menial occupations, or, as it were, by the accidental noise >f a spade against a stone. Meanwhile I hope you distinguish thought rom emotion. Any tool will do, or faculty, but it is well to know vhat you are using, what colour and what brush, or what tool
the bench. I get fierce when I hear people talk of giving a problem anxious thought'. There should be no such thing. If the clear ight of thought is clouded with anxiety, which is the emotion of
it

ear, there will

mt

don't

be no mix them!

clear solution to the

problem. Think or feel

Yours

aye,

LETTER 42
Dear Letchworth, Don't apologise for criticism; it is the way I learn my job. If as a lew member of the group you find too much slick cleverness of
eply and comment, you show your perspicacity. There is. It is, xowever, a necessary fault in pursuit of a great virtue. Zen lies on an ncredibly narrow way and on the non-existent middle of it.

We

106

THE WAY OPENS
have to lighten our thinking, as it were, speed it up enormously, and then jump not to conclusions or decisions, but to direct of things and of man. This direction of 'seeing' into the heart answer and comment must come 'suddenly' and immediately out
out of the unconscious, say some, and thought must of an answer is intervene, at first, as little as possible. The leap and thought which may stimulated, so to say, by rapid thought, of the last speaker. Do you deliberately leap to the opposite reply of us gives an answer that is good but still see what I mean? If one
of the

mind

with a remark which is nonsense, this an intuitive may be just quick, slick thinking, but it may come from an expression of the other half of the vision of the thing as one, and talk and first fellow's remark. The difference between clever-clever is desperately fine, and I do not the appearance of a real awareness
sense,

and another caps

it

guarantee to be right in

my
is

sometimes

my own

remark

as diagnosis every time. Especially as I see at once when I have only,

made

it,

clever-clever like the rest.

We

are shooting at a target

a million miles away miss many times (pace

with a child's

bow and arrow and we shall Mr Herrigel who learnt how to do it). But
bell rings

now and again we hit, and the

is not Zen in his quotations. even though he did spend 16 Don't take what he says as gospel, in Korea. Make your own decisions; years in Zen monasteries for myself I think that he is sometimes wrong. The line is so finelydrawn between false and true that it is difficult to be sure how it falls. So I will agree with you that there is some and even much of the clever-clever in our talk, but please help us to reduce it by the true article. We shall know it when it comes.

Read Blyth's Zen in English Literature, of illustrations as to what is and what

and it was all well worth it. and you will see his hundreds

Sincerely,

LETTER 43
Dear
Silver,

course I don't mind criticism; I more than welcome it. Here I agree that it is well laid, for I used the word initiation too lightly, and without explanation. I meant no more than the stage at which

Of

that individual

had reached

higher form.

The One

in the College of Life, moving to a Initiator, as referred to in some manuals

107

ZEN COMES WEST
of the inner
life is,

like all else, within,

and there

is

no one

in

gorgeous robes to hand a pass-word or a golden key to the successful candidate. But there is knowledge which is not given to those who have not proved themselves worthy to possess it safely and to

use

it wisely. The higher ranks of the 'Black-belts' of Judo in Japan, for example, have secret methods of killing, and of reviving, which are kept to themselves, and they make no claim to be an occult school of wisdom.

But the general
fooling

when

not right to criticism is most important. I I frequently say to the Class that I long to be rid of

am

them

collectively

heavily

on the

attitude.

to help

The him gain

and individually. For a long time the pupil leans teacher, and psychologically can get fixed in that teacher's job is partly to put him on his feet again,
his release

from such

fixation

on himself as the

Guru, Father-Image etc. Indeed, until the pupil can without emotion or apology knock over the teacher's tea-bowl and laughingly walk out of the room he is not 'freed* of the teacher, and is still bound to his pupilage. Therefore the teacher rejoices whenever a pupil, from 'adoring' him and lapping up all he says au pied de la lettre, suddenly stands up and says 'Bosh' to a pronouncement with which he does not immediately agree. That behaviour, so far from being rude in the teacher's eyes, is a symptom of development. The yes-man has become an occasional no-man, and he is beginning to spread his wings. This does not mean that I am wrong and the critic is more right; it means that the critic accepts what he accepts as being found to be true, and will not accept it otherwise, which is a vast improvement. So argue as you will. All that I ask is that modicum of modesty which allows that I may be right even if you do not immediately see that I am. I in turn am modest enough to know that it is more than possible that I am wrong.
Lots more
initiations,

LETTER 44
Dear Brampton,

You have
but you

indeed

made marvellous

still

remind

me

of a

man

progress in the last six months, climbing a mountain in diver's

Your job

boots and with enough furniture to supply a cottage tied round him. at the moment is to 'Drop it*. If you do not know the story

108

THE WAY OPENS
venerable sage approached the of that phrase let me tell it you. flowers in either hand, 'Drop it', said the Blessed Buddha, bearing One. The sage dropped one of the bunches of flowers and came

A

'Drop it', came the orderagain. Thesage obediently dropped the other flowers and still advanced. Drop it', came the final order.
further.
c

The Sage stopped, puzzled. 'Bring nothing', said the All-Seeing One. 'Come empty-handed'. Smiling the Sage obeyed, for in a flash of enlightenment he dropped and did not again pick up the
self,

which had so long stood
too

as a dark wall

between his eyes and

his Enlightenment.

barriers ; then only will you see. Used almost anything may be useful, but when you do not even appreciate the load you carry, the burden is more than any man can take with him to the heights of Everest. What I am asking you to drop is not a device or anything useful but things that are

You

must drop these

as a device

dead, old views, opinions, values, thoughts. You know the loveliest phrase in all Buddhism. 'Let the mind alight nowhere'. Study it,

absorb it, try it out. Leave space in the garden of your mind for the joy of direct experience, for the song of the wind on the heath, for the swoop and whirl and splendour of joy on the wing. (You catft be poetic with a diver's boots on). Study by all means, for the

and ideas you cull from books are the raw material of fresh experience. But these thoughts of others are dead until your intuition lights them again to life. You must recreate what another is describing and so make it live. As for what you drop, the answer in the end is everything. Meanwhile make a beginning by realising what you carry. First, the body, its likes and dislikes in food and comfort and temperature and clothes. Why be laden with the demands of eleven stone of mud? Your feelings. Be damned to them and put them in the dust-bin.
facts

Whose
is

feelings?

Yours? What you

is

hurt by what}

What

is

hurt

pride, ambition, sense of self-importance.
it

What

are they doing

inside

Write

you anyway? Your fears whose? Frightened of what? down and face it. Of growing old you will. Of death it must come. Your likes and dislikes how many of these are of unimportant, evanescent trivialities? Yet the mind is even more cluttered up with rubbish, and the brilliant discovery of today may be the rubbish of tomorrow. No thought is of value save when
it is

'working* as yeast in the mind; after that

it is

best discarded.

109

Open it again and reconsider it. forgotten. and at a ford saw a pretty girl who hesitated to cross lest she wet her clothes. compared with the swallow. all Remember that a opinions. Roars of delight. into the dust-bin. and these habits are devils to be fought and feelings vanquished. They were coming back at eventide to their monastery. immediate or ultimate. Even your ideals here is an interesting point I picked up in class last week. Our is dissipate our energy in these reactions. is then free. But the man with no more on his back than the next thing to be done. Principles and convictions should be dusted and revised every first of the month. You are pinned down by your pinning down of the other end of your desire or endeavour. to walk on. for we should still be much from want to an expression of annoyance when a person or event mentioned. whither he pleases. The older monk swept her up in his arms without pausing in his stride or his conversation. you fix yourself at the other end of the line. like wearing slippers after a spell of gum-boots in the garden. or interfering in others' of wishing 'if only' this and that would happen then all would be well what folly! It would not. here and now and with this. The habit of labelling But all all affairs.ZEN COMES WEST This applies to cultural. snarls of revenge. old age! no . the naked baby. that we carry is conditioned by habits of body and and mind. as he was before. things as good or bad. In this I favour the old Zen story of the two monks at the ford. dead. Either you and your end. like digging new trenches for a stream. habit of uncontrolled reaction to stimulus. political. you say. or goal or ideal. Is it. hot anger How we (because someone parks his car outside your door) what energy. there- fore out of the flow of the river of life and on a sand-bank. and be able to fill them up again. an advertisement which makes us buy something we don't the same. or in your case horti'conclusion' is something shut up. social. what energy to think you can waste with impunity and still live to But enough. Your duty. But our heaviest burdens are in the mind. or is it still? Out with it. You will be surprised how lightly you tread on the second. are both free or both fixed. or liked or disliked. for you see the principle. or for that matter the tramp. If you fix your end. cold fear of consequences. We are so heavy laden. We must make new ones. put her down at the other side and strode on.

good fat belly laughter. 'in spluttering with horror and indignation. LETTER 45 Dear Sally. At yourself and with everything else. and yet. there aren't any public there! can see the answer. put a great laundry basket in the middle of the bedroom floor and throw something into it each morning when you Now laugh. They will be wrong. therefore. emphasis on the minimum of technique and periphrasis (which means arguing 'about it and about* as in Omar's great quatrain. your arms. Yours laughing as I drop it. the monks get up in the middle of the night and have a service which includes pure ritual. that and the great bronze bell and the music of running water. Nor can it be said that I it is a sop for the public. and Zen monks are allowed and indeed encouraged to study the few great scriptures used in Zen. as a sign of health and indeed a sign of attainment? Everywhere in the monasteries in which I stayed was the sound of laughter. What will the neighbours think? That a neighbour has gone mad. It puzzled me when I was in Japan. and highly rehearsed and worked-out ritual at that. rise. more direct than any in the world. he said. 'that girl? / put her down at the ford'. and that much nearer to enlightenment. So did Mary. And instead of your breathing exercises yell with laughter. and you a monk?' and he went on saying it. While in the world of duality. and they work in . It will be a neighbour gone sane. but at and everything. the idea and its expression. At last the older man came out of his thoughts and listened to the loud complaints.) We must use some means to the end. All creation is of two ingredients.' he said. Did you realise that Zen Buddhism is the only school of training in the world which uses laughter. to talk of anything direct is only an ideal. as the lecturer said. Here is the technique of direct action. They must also discipline their bodies. So try to lighten your load. it needs no laughter. not at the story for yourself. *Oh. so you might show this reply to her. You asked me about the use of ritual and after the talk last night on life in Zen monasteries how it fitted in with Zen. but it is not easy to describe. life and form.THE WAY OPENS The younger monk was 'A girl'.

You know the Chinese saying In the beginning a man sees mountains as mountains and trees as trees. a they say. and it would be interesting research to find out how and when and where. with the first light of a winter's dawn stealing delicately through the pearl-grey paper screens that stood alone between us and the snow. which is only the use of natural forces not at that time known to science (the telephone would have been magic in the days of Queen Elizabeth. but save in writing or painting artistic expression. LETTER 46 Dear Mary. it is a hindrance. But clung to. Permit me. Then he attains enlightenment and mountains are once more mountains and trees are once more trees. 'right'. means of and from the earliest times scientific has been used for magic.m. the highly charged mental concentration making the room vibrate with power.ZEN COMES WEST in the fields or grounds or kitchen. Also. but questing minds. too complicated. then he grows a little and mountains are no more mountains and trees no longer trees. at any rate. The effect. and simple lives. So life is all too complicated? Complicated possibly and probably. to have the honour to remain. They must also do something about the emotions and here they have great beauty everywhere. the fine chanting. the swift rhythmic movements. Now it (for the few) very little ritual is very old. and a barrier to the direct approach which leads. No self was there. collective action is a valuable off-set to the individual work of each monk towards his own enlightenment. The physical control of immobility. So. as the Japanese its means to an end. terrific and if used as a hoben. needed. that they have simple minds. no. is tremendous. all this I shall never forget. your ever humble and obedient servant and that is harmless ritual. the conscious units of All-Mind . The peasant and the child and the idiot have this in common. uses all right. Madam. all this at 4 a. it was a it. and much of unorthodox healing is still magic today). as I saw it in the Jodo Sect as well as in Soto Zen. I think the habit grew up. to Zen. For it must be so. Then with the 112 . as old as man. so Ritual has call experience.

lust and illusion have immediate importance in the Zen life. good are all in that stage. or much less. And it is so potentially dangerous.THE WAY OPENS growing child. and for this reason. and things and bad. because it is so easy to slide into the thought if all is illusion. that anything which is an action of the seeking mind which increases the sense of duality must be a further barrier to the experience of Non-Duality. that the 'three fires of hatred. what does it matter what we do. This is strictly true. LETTER 47 Notes from a Talk is to the Zen Class beginning of this session that the Zen technique not concerned with morality. 5 I think. As we approach we move again towards simplicity. but it is a dangerous truth. The only criterion I know of value in active ethics is Does the action contemplated (or more often. or a later life of the peasant and a better life of the fades and the complexity of right and wrong. as you will know. with other people's money or wives or. complications. and nothing in a world of duality of any real importance. for example. is the great poet for the same reason. for that matter. lives? This is what Dr Suzuki means when he talks of methods used to combat antinomianism. alas. So bear this in mind in talking to your friends about their troubles. which I found to be a sixteenth centuryGerman sect that held that the Christian morality did not bind them. Walk Simply your friend. for I don't want you to hand on as my views what are only half of them. and it is the mind. simplicity We very complexity drives us to seek the solution in the only field in which it can be found Non-duality. that his values are intuitive. which for most of us begins as a sense of oneness. or your own. that creates the on. towards simplicity. to be unaffected by what does not belong in what Marcus Aurelius called the 'Ambit so often of our moral purpose'. true and false emerges. As self is dropped its vast array of wants and hopes and fears and dislikes drop with it. The great man is very 'simple-minded'. to 'feel' the right thing to do. We learn to want nothing. done) tend I said in Class at the H 113 . must be very complicated indeed and very difficult before the idiot.

to hand on nearly as fast as you digest your reading. LETTER 48 Dear Rodney. First. hope or and let him hear the Law*. join and help. for to hurt another in any way must drive a further wedge in your mind between your self and his. to be true. that is the perpetual fact to remember. in the sense that it is ideal or even the best we can do on the Way. When it is sealed wisdom. then. someone who knows even less but desperately needs some crumb of comfort in the darkness of avidya. Why? For many reasons. I would put spiteful gossip as a hundred times more harmful to the student of Zen than a party at which he got disgracefully tight. and seek out him who knows still less than thou. is does the action separate. as fast as you empty yourstarving for the bread of 114 . or does it injure. financial. Look to your Voice of the Silence. it lives while it flows. who in his wretched desolation sits We up it goes bad in the body in which it flowed. But don't get tied to books Of or you will get indigestion. emotional. There is always. This is not 'right'. So with have no right to retain for ourselves what we find Wisdom. And secondly. the same may apply to fun and games on the sexual plane between those free to indulge. hurt and sunder? If the act is mere self-indulgence. without a teacher. or what you will. The secret is to teach what you know. We are one. (I quote from memory consolation. wisdom is like blood. make whole. or hers.ZEN COMES WEST towards unity or diversity? Does it move towards the One or away from it? Does it heal. somewhere near you. it may be lamentable from several points of vieXv but it does not immediately increase the sense of separation which is our basic illusion. course I will lend you Lily Abegg's Mind of East Asia. or even drinking. is a worse action than retaining the gentle illusion of the Virgin Mary as a Comforter to whom to pray in trouble. but the sense is all right). And failure to help another in distress. but from the Zen point of view it is not actively harming another form of life. 'Give light and comfort to the toiling pilgrim. You are now so much better balanced that I rejoice to find you a budding scholar. or any other book you want. as excessive smoking. The test. According as we live that truth we are moving to enlightenment.

And you have music. Thus the Buddha. Make books your friends. if you face it. with the same ideals. self of what you have learned the void will be pass on and you will receive. to you. lovers may be. and then your Self. So you are. though most respectfully. pass on. and you will never hereafter be alone. Emotional proach to reality. your real trouble a lack of courage community which regards you as queer? Have moral courage which is so much nobler than mere physical courage. or just great affection. These friends of yours have let you go because. is new Or to go on living in a ME. which can be amazingly selfish. and a married couple that are basically great friends have the best link in the world for a happy marriage. ideas and way of ap- on the plane on which you are friend. with your own added experience and in your own words. What a friend? Some one at or about your level of attainment friends as at golf. which may not go deep. out karmic friends from past lives. to them. In which case let them go. "5 . Draw down. digest. So you're losing your brutal but I friends. So walk on. exhaustion. for though they may die or go away). and they can be very boring. I am sorry to be so mean it. Or mental mates. Physical or dancing. is Good riddance. lack of guts and drive.THE WAY OPENS Give out and mechanics and good you get. courage. You will need great courage of all kinds on the higher levels of the mountain. and make new friends at your as such. It is the Universe when you find it to be so. As for Jim. temptation. and teaching. filled. strength to face doubt. they think you are becoming queer. and the babies (I nearly forgot them) and when all else utterly fails you. You have him as a friend. That is Good studying. he adores you. and we can grow out of our friends as we grow out of our clothes. level. friends. LETTER 49 Dear Martha. as you say. and I and you can do no less in purpose and attempt. good sense. and the Class when you can come. You may as well begin to develop it now. at any age or stage or sex. (I leave these do not leave you But we do not grow at the same rate. The wider the conduit pipe of the one life into you the wider must be the outlet.

ZEN COMES WEST LETTER 50 Notes from a Talk to the Zen Class physical. backbreaking spade work. calling down your karma on your head. the environment itself. the inevitable result of the new efforts made. Cutting new channels of thought. a challenge to the Cosmic Accounts Department. though always for the good. The change of values can be as of past action is upsetting as the change in ideas. will produce changes. There is always tension in the mind. diverting the current of life into new channels. Surely the reasons are obvious. uncomfortable if no worse. The new force. is a cause for strain new and unsettlement. Look at it another way. as it were. It must be gently done because the law of action-redaction is inexorable. for we live in a field of the opposites. in a hitherto little used field. for what was of prime importance is seen as of no importance and the matter of sole importance is something entirely new. again. death. and 116 . all this change affects one's attitude to environment. and rightly so in a metaphysical sense. break down. old forms of thought and belief and behaviour. increasing and diminishing each of the thousand pairs of them. with protest from the old (T liked those violent sexy now I'll films') and from the new ('Ten minutes of that is enough and external. emotional of a sudden crop of troubles. and thus. Here. of relative values or habit of reaction. The speed effects at which you are receiving the accumulated speeded up. It is an of So many you are now complaining occult law as old as spiritual development that any real effort to advance internally. as you have been taught in the doctrine of Karma. internal You are suddenly. Finally. is very hard work. if I may use that phrase. and in that bi-polar field all tension is life and the absence of it Nirvana or. in all the departments of life. longer young. and it needs to be done gently but unceasingly. sometimes violently. and you are. This effort is. and the resulting adjustment of the mind in all its departments itself involves new strain. possibly when no go back to my detective story'). The new efforts. effort produces an exactly equal and opposite result. must change the tensions. as one expressed it. that it is time I warned you that I expected such results and hoped for them. or new release of force into channels. and mental. They are a sign of progress.

people get ill. you are having the self-expedited wish you fruitful suffering. some God. But all this must be so. the two being once more a of opposites in the bi-polar field. the illness is over. not by your worries. but at some dear soul who carries on placidly with nothing happening. Karma is a Law but there is no Law-giver do get that into your head. You heard what I said in Class last week about increased troubles of all kinds. 'hurt feelings' and the like. or flat. explainable accident. or of temper and peevishness. They as the circumstance change. F. How all these changes affect pair you depends. doubt. not she would greet them with when the was worse. 117 . from mind and emotions to the body. Now you tell me of yours and complain that it isn't fair that after so much trouble at home you should have the same with your boss and your job. and from organs. This won't do at all. at all! I know well the great herbalist. and the index to your development may be the way in which you can 'cope' with the changes. or you lose your job. LETTER 51 Dear Billy. as with drug therapy. or maid. efforts to achieve So I you caused them and now. Leyel. with your Non-action. with periods of depression. To attempt to remove symptoms. may be. on you. Go for the word 'fair' what do you mean by it? It sounds as if you still fiad the idea of Someone. is to defy nature. symptoms to assist her. and sudden joy. and the laws of thermodynamics . The laws of electricity don't need God to run them. which surprise and embarrass you or even of illness or un- may be . and lots of it! sufferings. or security. only suddenly disappeared and health was restored did the patient cease to complain. some Power Divine which is punishing you for what you have done. and you will now see why I am worried. Often the last trace of the trouble is a skin eruption and then. as I call happening. Mrs C. so a mental malaise.THE WAY OPENS do you. to the skin. When her patients complained that after a few weeks of her herbal 'drops' the disease 'excellent'. I therefore rejoice you will then get better! when you get worse. for I know So accept your effects. of course. Or things go wrong in your environment. So it is with all healing. true medicine pushes out the poisonous causes.

add to it the equivalent of all the world. As we sow. everywhere. but with it all is sanity and justice and harmony restored. we are what we have done. or the whole Universe is chaos and hell incarnate. of remorse. don't lean on God or any other Extracosmic Force. and take it on the then be a man. nor even says thank you. In brief. and you have heard say this many times. You will you don't like about you. but is that a reason for not feeling sorry for him? You must distinguish a profound understanding of the law of Karma from compassion for all forms of suffering in everybody. and clearly so. The law is the exquisite balance of cause-effect. as it may be. and I think you fault. If a friend gets tight and drives into a lamp-post it is his fault in every sense that he suffers from multiple injuries. variation or ill-will. but not to lean against.ZEN COMES WEST on very nicely without the Buddha to intervene. He deserved his suffering. What really do think it is all I know you write as if this were a joke. Now add compassion for those who lie in jail as the sequence of their causing. Or it might be said that the less we see that our suffering is deserved the more pity we deserve. standing up and for all not leaning against a Guru or a bar. Blame yourself chin. and know that all is the effect of past causes immutably worked out. my have you done to deserve it? but is it wholly? All suffering is deserved. They deserve what they have 118 . for to the effects of our causation is is added the thick veil of avidya. Without Karma where is there sense in anything. though you get affect all living things in the process. But it may be said that the more our suffering is knowingly deserved the more pity needed. from the blindness of which we shall probably do it again. None punishes or rewards you for what you do. not for them. for to all else is added the agony. You hope I pity you? That we deserve our suffering has no bearing on sympathy or pity. without passion or mercy. or any other extraneous piece of furniture. I note your complaints about the rheumatism. It is you that produce the effects and suffer the consequences. Yours. LETTER 52 Dear Mrs Welling. ignorance. so do we reap . So take your own suffering. So me stand up. we suffer from our sins. and not a limpet.

his deserts. of Jung. for he is one of the and I think the greatest in the West. Even car-park attendants. and correct my errors in attempting to apply his teaching. they mean well but are actually proud their heads lest a breath of roses. may be. but think of him as he waits for three from it not merely for it. and sympathy for all Good deserts. need not utterly exclude yourself. are. from our who suffer. . the verdict whether hours. consequences. laughter of the dawn-wind as it chases of old at the mangling of their lovely the imprecations of the Greeks should where was I? Oh language into this polysyllabic obscenity 119 . everyday foolish acts. and when of post-pubertal ego-deterfinally released from the present phase mined affect-repressed hetero-compulsion (or bilge to that effect) Poor will enter the tertiary level of comparative integration ' . But do greatest minds alive not talk to me of psychologists as a bunch save as we discuss the best mechanic to examine a car when it develops alarming noises and under the bonnet. But he needs your help to bear the indignation. is for everybody. suffering. . while the jury decided he should live or die. that man. in which you own suffering everywhere. but psychologists? How can one react with cool serenity to the insufferably irritating delicate contempt which most psychologists quite unsuccessfully conceal at the mere mention of spiritual experience? 'Yes'. at any time and at any length. as one sat recently. 'the children are progressing nicely. and much He will suffer from his wrong-doing. in which is blended all my sympathy at your LETTER 53 Dear Bungy. and I for him The pattern of life. the only body of men Talk to me They women on earth who have still the power to annoy me collectively. He suffered while we waited for the verdict. of the concrete poops. they seem to say. hate. I think. self-righteous apt to think against more. hell. of their deserts.THE WAY OPENS got. the ceiling carefully built above dead leaves round the garden. with bright and brittle smile. civil servants and waitresses in tea-shops must be accepted as human. If a but need our sympathy to bear the consequences man is murdered in the prime of life you are his murderer with horror. then.

LETTER 54 Dear Bungy. Jung and a very few others stand as the Great Hills of the Himalayas. the rest are mechanics. after that we shall have them chattering of All-Mind. Well. Of course there are very fine men and women in this pioneer field. The mystic can say *I am not a philosopher/ the astronomer *I am not a physiologist' (though these distinctions are rapidly beginning to 'blend and blur'. is a great advance for the benefit of mankind. ever-glorious beyond the latest science and the utmost ology. and we need help from psychology. schizoid or plain nuts. Now snap out of that dull machinery of thought. must be the final science. they me at times. disturb their amiable rile Yes. Our task in the West is hard enough already. it sets that ceiling just where Zen technique is aimed at breaking through. Meanwhile. whether normal. even if it does not approach in some respects the knowledge of Buddhists as written down 2. In any new or newly discovered science there will always be the underlings to degrade it the same applies to Zen. which laughing abnormal. Now we can talk. and go for awaits you. How on psychologists in the do we fight? Matching an social reaction incipient schizoid tendency with an ambivalent indicating pre-pubital psychopathy? But let's be serious. So you wish to bite me for my 'outburst' West. THAT Your friend till forced to undergo treatment. not a hindrance* When they arrive at Karma and Rebirth there will be a sudden break. their heads of awareness in the heights of Wisdom. as Rupert Brooke said of the centuries at Grant120 . or it But there is a difference. and then no longer. and insufferably complacent smiles.000 years ago. we must work with them. delimit itself in advance. But psychology is a coming science. for what they are now discovering. with such an absorption in the intellect as the Japanese never knew. were. well. and in one sense is the ultimate science.ZEN COMES WEST yes. concerned as it is with the human mind. as I said last time. as it would not be specialisation. Excellent. which. And I agree that every specialised field must. and we must work with it. cleaning the petrol pipes and carburetters of the machine of the lower mind.

Nevertheless I repeat my firm belief that we must work in with psychologists and not quarrel with them. can bridge the gap as nought else between the minds of East and West. tolerant friendliness. The psychiatrist. led by Jung.' It may be. from integration to 'individuation'. But anything outside that she would not touch. she did not knowBut she did not sneer. weeks of work. Buddhism not in her specialist field. fail So far. that's the best I can do. too often adopts the patronising attitude of a headmaster with an over-imaginative child. That was right. What its matters to him what the pupil or patient feels and believes. firmly she was the expert and I the child. at statements con- MS of my Pelican Buddhism. covertly or otherwise. I remember Miss Horner. that of a respectful. as it were. It might or might not be correct. and that those who practise them. not excepting Jung himself. a nasty mess to 'integration'. I presume. 'There you are. such is the ladder (at the moment). the the greatest of psychologists. even a single flash of Zen satori. as Jung says somewhere. the end-product. Thus. And psychology is concerned. going through the All to do with Pali she criticised and and even dogmatically. so good. . for this is the field in which Buddhism could be of most immediate latest findings of service to the West. are straying from the path of sanity.THE WAY OPENS Chester). the great Pali specialist. the Path begins with such and the end. but what a dreary creature is the individuated man! From the Buddhist point of view. Sir. Within these all is is to the practitioner in a subjective field. is aeons ahead of the nicely tidied up and sorted out and balanced From mind which they hope to re-create and then eject from the consulting room as 'finished It is like the mechanic in the garage who 5 . a powerful reality. cerning aspects of and does not conceal his view that many of these beliefs and theories are only foolish imagination. who is the psychologist in action. with the limits structure and functioning of the psyche or mind. but the result is nevertheless an ancient Austin 7 and that much short of the supreme product of Messrs Rolls and says after Royce. God may mind He but so many to adopt a modest and right attitude to workers psychologists outside their field. of all therapy. That this my view is right is surely fortified by their description of the ideal man. if need be corrected. or may not exist in the field of metaphysics but in the may be. objective truth being almost irrelevant. as a force.

and to want it very badly indeed. psychologist. I therefore take the view that anyone showing genuine want is worth considering. and the difficulties are fairly faced. . though the process may be at times uncomfortable! . So don't worry about not being on the intellectual plane of some unaffected. field of duality by that very intellect. have been highly intellectual people. but you know what I mean). . to be envied at all. let him or her begin. as well as the greatest philosophers. me the same. and possibly quite out of proportion to each other. and the first necessity is to want enlightenment. a spiritual growth which the brain may not know. possibly leaving the man we know almost and I believe very often is. 'Tut tut. letter. or at least the equivalent in the of the emotions. first 'trick-cyclist'. The child peevish a clear case of It may be what excellent material for my self-control! Yours probably psychopathically. and if the want is not too selfish. in a group of thirty people the intellectual level nor does there exist any 'average'. for you are cooking nicely. others just feel more integrated. Believe me. But behind this. (It comes of course from the deeps within. and the Zen Masters of old had obviously first class minds. others develop as never before the capacity of clear thought. Some people become for the first time emotionally balanced.ZEN COMES WEST And now or is I wait for the observation of the to whom you show this ' . in the sense that all of them seems to function more as a whole. By this standard it would be useless to have anyone in the Class who had not a wellI quite see your difficulty. and others have told field developed and trained intellect. But cannot be the same. It is true that most of the greatest mystics. I humbly believe that I recognize this intuitively as time goes on. however humble their birth. LETTER 55 Dear Caplan. As to growth or development this takes place on several planes simultaneously. from the spiritual point of view. there can be of the others. Walk on. some of them are the worst bound in the and are not. But we have to begin somewhere. though I could not explain just what that growth consists of or whence it comes.

' expensive'.THE WAY OPENS LETTER 56 Dear Rodney. scowl. the very effort. can. . or with any motive or thought of result. wrong place. not seeking it. as a right and There is moment outside your control. for it is absolutely. not two things. with right effort and no-effort as a pair of the opposites. to agree with a There are still two separate things. or one thing. happily. and a fairly rare one. motive and intent. Until can accept everything so heartily and completely that you you and it are one you are fighting Zen. easy or plum impossible *Zen is One and not two*. it is Zen and no self. true. Zen lies on an exquisitely balanced and inconceivably narrow middle way. Zen is immediately. not because of anything. True acceptance and sulky indifference. All that happens happens right! Put that into your pipe and smoke in the true sense of that term. This it. however. and drop 123 it in the dust- . You can't to satori by any particular time for it is beyond time. and just get when you will have an experience. let him go to hell in his own way*. To accept is a mighty spiritual virtue. pleasant or unpleasant. This does not mean a spineless lying down under oppression or injustice. a right and wrong time for everything. unjustly attacked. most of which are for the applies to timing. cheerfully. or the like. great or small. but because it is the next job to be done. depends on many factors. or *I accept the fact that we have to move but There are no 'huts' in acceptance. or in need of assistance against the local Borough Council. as I thought I had explained sufficiently. It is far more than thinking 'Well. but to resent. To accept in that mood is not to accept. or. means. though if you wish to it is often the best course for you drop self to And it never means that you lie down while a friend is pursue. Your job is to do the job in hand. Say to yourself in every situation. There will be no Zen so long as . your self and the event. are not a pair of opposites but the right and wrong variety of the same thing. the facts of circumstance have any felt relation with oneself. *I suppose I must buy a new carpet sweeper though it is very . and often does produce the counter-force which will stultify the effort. Abstract your self from it as the cause and creator of all the trouble. in this life or in the next. Nor will intensity of effort alone suffice.

and embarrassing your at the office. to thine own self be true* is magnificent advice but the exhausting. This is a phase of progress and indicates that you are truly 'walking on'. So drop your of thyself is the Self. You have Now complaint. and be expensive. or let your progress and don't pick them up again. LETTER 57 Dear Mary. you have to have teeth out. fear. are one's friends but those with whom all). process of re-assuming this armour of falsehood and stop it. smaller perhaps in the eyes of men but true. mean when you say you feel like a hermit naked in a crowd with sticks and stones. what? Grumbles. Why? Because we lack the courage to be natural. not the boss in the office. instead of an I know well what you crab without a within have that defences. The next job to be done hurt and be expensive and embarrasremove yourself from the whole horrible still to ring up the dentist. to it is said. depressed and fearful? We need their service in this way. And. Now business. 'And it must follow as the night the day. It will hurt. Why? Because we must have times when the defences are lowered and we can be what we are. We live our lives behind self-erected barricades of make-believe. thou canst not then be false to any man/ self most men (though husbands and wives. but such as we are. defenceless and correspondingly cross and fearful. But the fact that we must at times lower the fences shows that for most of the time we have them. the rest of the quotation is worth remembering. naked Meanwhile we are false. and the Self within longs to be strong enough to drop it suddenly and be less splendid but more free. at our worst maybe. know What 124 . Very well. Watch the result. 'This above all. behind the mask of a personality which is how we shouldlike to appear. Very well. living lie. peevish at times. But you will still have sing at the office. it will be.ZEN COMES WEST bin (all right. and fear the ridicule of those about us were they to see us as our pitiful. annoyance your teeth out and it will ad lib? If you wish. trash-can if you must be American) and leave it there ! to have your teeth out? Very well. ring up ! Yours brutally. shell. the inner man. The strain gets terrible. but quite untrue. we may be natural.

H. those flashes of sudden light which have already helped to solve so many of the 125 .THE WAY OPENS Yet it is true that our friends probably love us for the compliment we pay them of taking off our armour. to hit him at once and hit him hard. gave the reasons when advising A. The event was neither good nor bad save as you labelled it. that is your concern always. Drop your defences. Impossible! But pay attention to them. you can readily let it drop. for example. then. and leaving it in the hall with our coats and hats and other anti. 'Do not attempt to root out hatred. Forget the external fact and look to the internal reaction. And while free I am about it I might as well leap to another thought. (or perhaps that applies more to dirty old thoughts. Sinnett about the writing of his book Esoteric Buddhism. So we shall love you the more and you be the happier. fear. 'What. Constant exercise in being 'mindful and self-possessed* will produce the power to react at once to the invader. I have re- This reminds me. At something someone does or says we begin to feel angry. the necessity of keeping the 'higher mind' (I know no better term) from interference from lower interruptions and influences. And when you once perceive the anger for what with a mind serene. 'untouched by circumstance'. Take anger. not to the outward events which have called up these emotions they are no longer present but to the emotions themselves/ This is grand advice.weather devices. As one of you wrote to me. and true training. but the principle is the it is. and free. be frightened but be naked. 'It is upon the serene and placid surface of the unruffled mind that the visions gathered from the invisible find a representation in the visible world. if you prefer it. same). P. to drop the thought before it can be given the strength to grow. It is the speed with which we with the thought or emotion as it arises that may decide whether cope we successfully cope with it or not. (for I have a most disobedient mind that off after every lady friend of thought-association) of what scampers one of you said in class about anger and hate arising. membered it and applied it often. The Master K. you again? I thought I told you not to come to the house again* as to a dirty old tramp. selves. or. Otherwise you would vainly seek those visions. anxiety. the stronger. but your reaction should have been in your power to decide or at least control.

As I said. That is why I say that to talk of peace at a conference table is a waste of words until the parties want peace there will not be peace but war. the warfare of self versus Self. When they want peace it is easy enough to 'make' it. lose but . when men get together in groups and each want this and that for their side there will be warfare. It seems that you expect peace where you can never find it. how can he be a So war there will be until the . In the same way. so busy working along Zen lines within the framework of your home. and to victory. the demands of the part or the high destiny of the whole. before is ended and the goal in sight. (and I thought it a jolly good phrase to come impromptu when talking to ten thousand people on the Ramlila Ground at Delhi) 'the price of peace is self'. Let's face it. night. individual is torn within by his own peace-maker last human being has won that war within. has his hands full 126 at the conference table? private war. So long as within each mind there is war to the end between self-ishness or self-lessness there cannot be peace or comfort in that mind. that is it fear I arn puzzled to see this entirely new factor of appearing in your talk to me? I did not mention it in our interview as I was not certain I was right. What's gone wrong? You seemed so settled in your life. even though the group be as large as a nation and the warfare is global. whether he knows it or not. So face that this fight. to lose it is and irrevocable death. one way or the other. the flames of lust and hate and illusion or the serenity is a fight that has been declared. not your neighbour but yourself. But so long as the of inward sight. You may win or you cannot sit on the edge as at a football match and cheer the winner.ZEN COMES WEST minor problems and which alone can bring the truth before the eye of the soul/ But I am chattering. Good LETTER 58 Dear Martha. You are the winner and loser. and are shying at the idea of the pro- the self longed and bitter war which must be fought. for your neighbour. but which 'you' wins and which loses? That is for you and for you alone to say. So get up and fight. peace is a dream and an idle dream until the war within is over.

both being symbols of and therefore substitutes for direct experience of that truth. or at you. know that I have them and I expect you have them too. a little emotion there. LETTER 59 Dear Brampton. And so on. and the discovery is given a new label as a new truth. a paradox and here. that follows. wholeheartedly. Kill the fearer and let joy be unconfined! Up Guards and bite 'em. So it may be in one sense. Yours in the front line. A 127 . Throw fear away and bite the enemy. (note the paradox. for it is only self that fears and you are nothing fast destroying this stronghold of your fear. or everything? That's better. It is not truth but the clothes of truth which are now so proudly displayed at the next Annual of that learned Society. 'This I it is difficult know being so. True. at your age to be free of the fetters of a life's But use the machinery of thought as you know it hard thinking. as the Duke of Wellington might have said. The Western line of intellectual approach to any problem or facet of truth is a straight one.' In the end there is a direct onslaught on the subject/ it object. If there is that fears there will be no fear. at me. Fear nothing. or so seems. as Pierrot tried to catch the butterfly of his beloved in his hat in the ballet Carnaval. Conference Now consider the Eastern approach. you do not show nor do I many of them but I mind. a hint of art.THE WAY OPENS with his ness in ideas. being a building composed of the old ones. is ringed about with con- cepts until a new one appears.' 'That being so it is safe to infer this. But is it? The intellect (we have been over this before) uses words with which to build concepts. The truth invested. So get up and fight. The Eastern approach is not direct but little logic devious. your own mind. Are you laughing. but it is a cage in which a fragment of the truth is caught. so well described in Lily Abegg's Mind of East Asia. that this is 'direct* action). of own battle. to come with me beyond it. a joke. with the moral courage of a martyr which the last is belief in and the yells of laughter of a Zen practitioner. And Fight the greed and lust and hate and spitefulthe illusion which breeds your wrong these horrid facets of the twoness. so to speak.

It may can never achieve absolutely true but not with the intellect! ever. is A and not-A. devious. in that it is at the best partial. ! Now A is A and A is not-A or B. felt as thought. of a host of lovely things. save relatively. and secondly. Which is bump? That was of course. Very well. as well as the ordinary man in the street. Who said Zen demanded of the personality. It results. A is not A.ZEN COMES WEST This complex. The man of Zen takes the logician by the hand and leads him back to the 'moment' (beyond time) when there was neither A nor not-A. A is A. and the whole includes the opposite of the statement made. with the wealth or poverty Mr Wilmington. In THAT. you see the limitations of the intellectual approach. as you are. It is applied as understood. who regrets to point out that the man of Zen is talking through his hat. achieve relatively true results. it is the hand of karma that gave it him. But absolutely both are true. And no part is true or can be. Relatively. deliciously Therefore and writes again and again. After all. A is A. if the person concerned is in lawful possession. Surely it is clear from all Zen writing that the alleged Theravada teaching of running away from life (which I do not believe to be the true teaching of the Theravada 128 . and known by a flash of the intuition that all the logic in the world will never achieve. That is true. when both were unborn facets of one primordial Reality. only the whole. A is A that is true. I have brought you to agree that every single statement made is untrue. Bump did you hear the Reality falling down into relativity. as the Indian philosophers call it for want of a better name. *How?'yell the Western intellectuals. This makes possible the Zen logic of no-logic about which Dr Suzuki speaks so silence. the East can and does Yours as LETTER 60 Dear that we sell all we have and give it to the poor? It is the first I have heard of it! In the first place Zen is not concerned with outer behaviour. and with it the responsibility to see that so much beauty is rightly used. say the gentle- men ofZen^A^re/br^Aisalsoandatthe same time not-A. infinitely subtle approach leaves room for the total mind's absorption of the new idea. both true/untrue and neither True. A is not at the same time not-A. truer? Neither. say the logicians.

not a houseful of rubbish to throw away. if at all. how you react to it.THE WAY OPENS school). comfort or none. is. make all available from time to time to a wider circle. or in heaven. of health or illness. You can do many things with money but to be indifferent to it leads you nowhere at all. or not at Here 'in this body 'is six feet in length'. is the field in which we fight self to a finish. wanting and not wanting. for while you want them you can never get rid of them. all. and the ceasing of the world. What matters is not what you possess. in this house or job or town or in some other. knowing that the within. or two things related as the two sides of a coin. but that is a delicately balanced middle way between attachment and repulsion. or wealth or honour or glory. is anti-Zen. Here. You cannot successfully run away from riches any more than you can run away from poverty. therefore. In other words. the mind is not free. as the Buddha says in the Pali Scriptures. how you use it. Where there is non-attachment how shall it hurt a man though he own the are earth? Where there is attachment. desiring and hating. you are attached to it. or call it what you will. of health. there is attachment. not somewhere else. in what circumstances we live. Indifference I 129 . There is nothing to run away from and no one to run away. and the origin of the world. You can and should cultivate non-attachment. if such be possible. even of the very poor man to his favourite teapot. in which we develop the muscles of the soul (I did really!) It matters not. in a monastery. or should be. which nothing heaven can bind or even assoil. and leave them to those who will love them as you once did. In this way you can see how life. and the attempt in both cases must fail. the gymnasium. with its pleasures and horrors. It is a responsibility you have. to what extent. give some to those who have none and will love them. but what you do about it. the world. what matters is what we mind do with the surroundings of the personality. Here. even if you give them away! How much better to use them wisely. the higher Self. its wealth and poverty. So keep your treasures while you want them. learning to on earth or in shall be 'the mind that alights nowhere'. we attain Enlightenment. in this life. as I unctuously wrote in youth. But don't confuse attachment and indifference. and likewise the Way that leadeth to the ceasing thereof. The man and his circumstances from the Zen point of view one and the same thing.

' Be poor then. individhave to ignore all that I see. as one who lays up no treasure on earth. sex. higher though still impermanent and changing Self wears at the You moment. but don't lay it up in heaven either. mountain about Do and such lovely poems 'We never get which he wrote so many tired of each other. race. like 'falsely imagined'. the mountain and I. and all the tricks of the personality. no more than a mask yet. If. I compounded of age. But I have a further difficulty. communicate with you I must drop my self in with the eye of the intuition.ZEN COMES WEST is negative. the personwe like to think. type and so on. their craftsmanship. and so long as we allow it to have separate life it is a serious hindrance on the way. LETTER Notes from a Talk to the Zen Class For what I have to say this evening 6 I I want you to accept one matter and working hypothesis. is far stronger and more established than as the world implies. The lower. and to the extent that equally betrays a distinction in the mind which. ually. therefore partial. although it is. These are the clothes which the Self. love it and let it go! by them. But it is an illusion. through which the actor speaks. age. nor they to you. which may blind my eyes to the man or woman within. which for want of a better term I will call the higher and the lower. class. I race prejudice. and it is this. Thus you will not be bound So both contented. otherwise I am blinded by a vast edifice of my own. and religious training. of doctrine as a reasonable There are in us at least two 'selves'. religious 130 . therefore. the 'pilgrim souP of Western poetry. philosophic am to order to penetrate. I have to lay down my own personality to look at you. Use it. and educational background. love your treasures. As Li-Po said of the Sincerely. ality. yours. appearance. therefore. their symbolism of Reality then let them go. and so on. I want you. Each will be free and I personify them? I do. class. the truer. You are not. endearing or the reverse. think of yourself as of this sex. When I speak to you. it is often taken for the actor and in extreme cases becomes the actor. for their beauty. it is positive is all others.

or the man you sit next to at the office teases you about your hair? It is often as trivial as that. as I Zen point of view is surely Master's room for San-Zen. And you? Are yoti loved and unloved for the qualities of Self or the personality? trivia of your changing You would like to of lifting above the self to see know! So try the double process. This does not mean that the Master is always 'cold* and impersonal. remember. to be accepted as 'pleasant or unpleasant'. or is extremely beautiful or very rich? These are the effects of karma. over Easter to set in motion a ne. shedding self. The man who a moment before was flashing lightning at the thought-bound pupil's darkened mind may now receive with gratitude a cup of his special tea. clearly. moving from life to life. suffering. must wear warm clothes which yet impede his movements. In the same way the pupil tries to lift himself to the level of the Master's mind and to receive help at that level. rise up eternity*.THE WAY OPENS therefore. What does this Self care if the woman next door has a raucous voice. but feeling now as a man who. and of no spiritual importance at all. You may find that those whom you like you like for trivialities and that in fact you have little in common. You will find that those you dislike you dislike for details Undress youryou and look again with the eyes of Self. to begin to see with your true Self and to see the Self of your friends and your enemies. and stripping those about you of their personalities. so unimportant that will blush at the discovery. or. The importance of all this from the obvious. not merely irrelevant but a nuisance. Later. an American we can cigar. may be. for that interview.w habit of mind. Their respective personalities are. through the eyes and from the whole 13* . He uses his 'inner eye' to see what is really happening behind the mask of the man's personality. 'the pilgrim of self. You will get shocks. as the outer self is purged and reduced in power it will more and more reflect the real man. as each must lay his own aside to get on with the job. or the more true man. for the first time. expanding the higher mind and the intuition. through our re-assumed personalities. walking on. Then the fool (so good for us) and utterly enjoy the again play humblest things. and allow the tremendous spiritual strength of the inner man to radiate. to look at them. learning. and enjoy it thoroughly. or common voice. working in the snow. as you know well from the visits we have received from such. When a pupil enters the does the master care that he has an ugly face.

These are based on the Prajna plane of the highest Self Here is true know communion this secret. So you are tired of Zen? That you are tired I know. and people become more sensitive. worried lower mind 132 . all other Selves. That may be a reason. or up. Beloved. I shall brutally drive you to confess what bosh you are talking. who is tired? Your body. But watch it. personalities shall of love looking downwards called called friendship. and generally 'fed up with everything'. LETTER 62 Dear Mary. as you well know. . to the rest of you in the group. Face to face two Selves Flame. nerves. It will not hurt you any more than a single midge-bite will send you raving mad. across. lift to your higher level. Before you have the holiday you need. There is too much gossip still. inseverable aspects shall find no severance. done or not done. And now for the spiritual value of the habit. but it is no excuse for unkind and even spiteful gossip. we can reach the rest is the quarrelling and mating and fighting of natural on their plane but no longer natural or right in our animals. so us meet anew. to But I to let it affect you even at personality level. they are. refuse of him. and in that communion find no differing? Because that Self. which find expression in words and in deeds. So let our coats. and to the extent that it does seem real. I know the spiritual effort you are making is apt to set one's nerves on edge. leaving our personalities outside as we leave shall we draw closer to one another. want you to apply these truths more practically still. These. climb to the Goal. this man whose habit of drawing attention to himself so sets your teeth on edge. What then? Tired of what? Of Zen? you. fretted emotions. First. not mere chatter about each other but actively unkind thoughts. save through a glass. granted. and know that they are. it just doesn't exist. one. however. called devotion to the compassion. and realize that this is all illusion. are not so you are not tired. and look at this woman who so annoys you.ZEN COMES WEST make a pool of light about him in his humblest affairs. But Self is also the other man s no two darkly. Why does Self seek Self. Use the new power. and to the realm of Non-duality. as sparks of one of one Whole.

point of view. Congratulations on the degree. grabbing. Zen is not a matter of study. feel. of unlimited strength like that. of doing things. just keep some phrase at the back of the mind. It is a new way of looking at things. and indeed should order your life that you will have time for nothing else. I repeat you will not find Zen when locked in a bedroom facing the wall. and don't snarl at me that the self is weary of the effort of committing suicide. balance of directed will-power. Now develop the habit of deciding in advance what that atti- tude shall be. spiteful self-ish under little horror which yaps all the time to be noticed and petted and allowed but so that little way. for one can get stale in any form of training. of seeing things as they are. Do your study and meditation and deep thinking when you have time and you will find you have time if you organise your day properly but then do it all the time. but remember that the longer you stop the harder work it is to catch its grubby it up again when you begin. as you call them. is the force of life itself. So let it off the lead just occasionally. as I must have told a score of you. when doing all the things I said. seeing a patient or washing your teeth. you will be verybusy. But to keep the engine warm. Reality for Make it the constant approach to reality which is you do. for Zen . or noble thinking or paradoxical super-sense. You have to be in some focus of attention.THE WAY OPENS Certainly not. addressing a golf-ball. Nearly the guillotine. but don't talk nonsense about therefore having 'little time for Zen'. a new technique for facing circumstances. for coping with problems. that you will have. and let it pop up now and again and talk to you. May I suggest 'The hill goes up and down'? Yours in fun and games. all am not the bits of us kick fiercely at being firmly held surprised. when sharpening a pencil. all time for Zen. I and joy and laughter you mean. certainly the peevish. If you are not doing your 'Zen chores'. I repeat. so to speak. as you say. also all say and want to 133 do. or meditation. and in the payment therefor. for living life. Now. That is the Zen . then as now. (I find that a most annoying fact). Stop your study and meditation for a week over Easter. LETTER 63 Dear Rodney. does no harm.

because pertaining to the subconscious of the patient. fearless. With others I should love to be able to use the Zen technique off-centre. at least at the time. So with emotions a I should love. with horrid bits of egotism trailing round it like seaweed so that the first person to come along and tread on a bit of it hurts you? Well. of curing anything off centre by driving it further turn the fire on. I should be thought to be doing with the woman concerned! So now snap out of it. The man of Zen is does. at the end of a flood of tears she woman suddenly worked through the fog of feeling to the sweet sunlight of the inner Self's own vision of Reality. But when there is a puffed-up ego which has become so identified with the individual that he or she does not even realise that it is but an outer balloon of untrue ballyhoo. But the fact that the person hurt cannot be reasoned with to see the folly of the hurtness is evidence that the very experience of being hurt is irrational. What is hurt? Your self. to hurt her far more badly.ZEN COMES WEST life. When it is merely pride or ambition that is injured one can reason. and point out the experience to be merely what it is. I long to be allowed to use the brutal methods in these cases that I have succeeded for years in using on myself. what is happening. then the patient cannot be made to see. The trouble is that I do. go and lie naked in the snow. having tried to cope with at least 1. or the Lord Buddha knows w hat r . direct. Kick the furniture by all means sulk. When I feel hurt I pounce on the cause without delay and blast myself for the fatuous folly of it. to insult her. sneer at myself for a pride I should not have. of cold. So now you right. LETTER 64 Dear Mary. direct at any rate in this. when complains of being hurt. in its emotional untidi- ness. for private ambitions I should have dropped years ago.000 bits of seaweed in my time. But I should need time and a padded room for that. *34 . and kick myself on the emotional ankles. right to be hurt But it are feeling hurt. From what you say you have every if there is such a thing as being hurt being ever isn't. . When complaining of the heat. certain and serene in all he is and Get on with that! Yours. cut off the seaweed! You say I don't understand. blast her until.

as the masters say. It is not too without thought of taneously.THE WAY OPENS scream and burst into tears as needed.' What brilliant precocity in terms of the Zen doctrine of the Void Once. I said. wrong because carefully done in the illusion that it is right. Don't think. plan hour or whatever I3S . when very small. At tea I was asked how I liked the service. is bi-polar. So after much effort let there be some rest. like pushing a pendulum. difficult at self. however. as you know it. Beware of the illusion that something has been done which has only been halfat times. lest the postal authorities complain of the heat of it. and all art. worry. of the Universe as of the of life. but I looked all round and he was out. 'It was God's house. then put on your best hat and go shopping. And when convenient write to me and tell me all about it. All effort produces resistance. emotional meandering and deliberate thought. for a magnet has two poles. There is balance in the tension. Plan. and 'do nothing'. said a thousand times that 'doing nothing* is rightly a part of our but let the nothing be under control. I was taken ! Now put that hat on. Try the opposite and so restore the balance. But how much our stage of development to act in the sense of unselfishly and sponof it is spoilt by self-satisfaction at such nobly selfless acts? We I away the thought of Meanwhile we live duality. God's House. and the art is set out in that field. So you're another getting tired. of action. With love always. burning the letter before posting. are you? Who is tired? Tired of what? You don't know? All right. and rightly so in the world of of manifestation. For the field littlest must. I have total life. but let the rest be intelligent and itself under control. and even the best effort should be balanced with intelligent rest it is But there can be awfully wrong effort. done. LETTER 65 Dear Sally. to a new Church one Sunday where my temporary 'aunt' told me the Church was afternoon. you will turn off all taps. and the stress and strain inherent in occasional imbalance is clear to all of us. not only throw but also the thought of No-I! in tension. thought. or just five minutes or even a full day in bed. that for a half it may be.

and don't be planning a letter to the local Council about the behaviour of the woman next door. The shadow is the self. . read it and try to solve it. we have projected onto people. gods and things that stand. don't wonder. it is as much part of the total man who climbs to enlightenment as the very will to climb. is as old as occult training. weed. the State. As for you. play carefully and well. but equally and always under control. LETTER 66 a Talk to the Zen Class Notes from Sooner or later on the Way each man must turn and face his 'shadow'. with the door locked. and beyond it that shadowy God created by the folly of man called. But if you just want relaxation. get down to the river and muck about with that boat. the lower. as does all 'circumstance'. selflying or sheer ignorance. animal. If you read a detective story. and that there is no one to be blamed save himself for all that happens to him. whole. selfish and unworthy side of us. And so on. then he rises and feels a different man. This is I believe right action. Thus modern psychology. Then get up and do other right action. about us. One day it might be persuaded to hold water . If in the garden. hope or fear. our rheumatism. if you play patience. . so we must first withdraw those portions of the total self which. nowadays. decide what you will do and do that only. but the necessity for this experience. The doctrine of Karma should help the Buddhist to withdraw his projections. entire or not at all. and for this some little study of psychology for is wise. from cowardice. failing sight 136 .ZEN COMES WEST or want. The practice of withdrawal of projections can only begin when we realise how much of ourselves is projected. Do nothing. regret. But we project whenever we blame another what is the result of our own action. If you listen to fine music. In even greater unreason we put the blame on 'they' ('they don't give you a chance nowadays'). however named. Many a businessman today in the West has ten minutes flat on his back in the office after lunch. the self we despise in ourselves and would feign hide from our friends. for better than most he has the means to appreciate that all his circumstance is self-begotten. We blame the Government always. listen. And in shorter focus we blame the boss. the weather. But it is ours. we are it. And as we must climb total.

said in writing to A. and all of us or none pass through! Meanwhile. and does not permit oneself to be embittered and to see others in blacker colours than reality. P. if need be changing something in myself? This slow and deliberate movement backwards. utterly. a brave man. that 'perfectly useless doctor* and the younger generation. a victim specially selected. scriptures. what can I do to change it. or God or man or doctrine.THE WAY OPENS and the Communists. He will stand or run and jump with his own two feet beneath him.' But to withdraw projections one must cease to lean. group or dearest friend? And how many. H. Society. The student who is all set for Zen-experience must make that final burst alone. all possessions and the last vestige of good name? Yet thus shall we climb or not at all. reduces. thus shall we reach the Gateless Gate where stands our Zen St Peter. it means that in thought at least we are willing to lie in the gutter with the drunk. as one of them. We also blame atom bombs. honour. And in terms of group activity it involves identifi- cation with the worst as well as the best of one's fellow students. How many of us stand alone. when your foot caught the chair . It needs. in the words of The Voice of the Silence by just so much 'that mighty sea of sorrow formed of the tears of men*. as Jung points out in a famous passage in his Psychology and Religion. leaning and relying on nothing else. is the beginning of the journey home. the lying and the lust. of the dirty. totally. the brutal thief. would be the same when stripped of reputation. Yet he who succeeds in doing it even a little lifts thereby some portion of the world's great burden. As the Master K. the prostitute. What have I done to make it so. Sinnett about the founding of the London Lodge. into the deeps of the Self within. with the irritating ways and manners of most of them as well as with the spiritual progress of the few. In terms of Zen it is finding one's original face. It involves a total and willing acceptance of the worst of us as well as the best. 'It is true manhood when one boldly accepts one's share of the collective Karma of the group one works with. so to speak. or to throw all blame upon one "black sheep". the hate. or would be the same without teacher. our neighbours. to support him in that hour. To begin to withdraw all this is a tremendous undertaking. thus alone. with grubby thought and selfish yearning. mean and spiteful mind. It is wise indeed to argue with oneself in every unpleasant situation.

you will admit. But it also applies to you who have sat.ZEN COMES WEST leg this morning. were you Yours. a little breathless at times. but always. co-terminous with selfhurl them away. arise and walk praise. of seeing the 'suchness' of things. Contentment. hope and lamentation and despair. . echoing the mighty Master of old. fast or slowly. or you cursed when the vase was upset. and. for I think that this is my only virtue that I do not stop. Could we see one thing as it really is presumably we could see all things as they really are. We talked not long ago about self-appraisal. I know of no exception. to those who halt by the wayside for want of enough Zen-breath. Keep moving. for thus I understand that teaching. they are cosmic or rather pre- 138 . This is not. When 'Walk on'. Certainly it may be applied to the faint-hearted. and thus perceive 'our original face*. always. Don't sit. of seeing all things as they are. that tears the bowels of the mind asunder or. on! Through fog in a hell of depression you have not known that yet in doubt. LETTER 68 Dear Silver. I say Yours. I mean. and hear the voice of the Silence. with a smile of revolting unctuousness. But the eyes with which we see thusly are not personal eyes . Presumptuous man! we should be there. So at last you have If only we could do that learnt to 'see straight'. satisfaction and sunshine. . in that incurable unrest of heart that comes with the first and awful glimpse of the suffering of all mankind. blaming . what is far more horrible. that we should walk on. you? LETTER 67 Dear Bungy. and don't be satisfied. whose answer would be 'probably not'. walking on\ Do I speak with authority? I do. on the comfortable seat of 'achievement' in order to admire the view. For this is the doctrine of Tathata. in this at least more worthy. to look with vast compassion on the toiling multitude who are yet a number of zig-zags of the mountain path below.

as you know. Then hold it. 'Facts looked at directly are vital. and weaken .' I like that. when they pass into words half the sap is taken out of them. veils of illusion. In meditation the mind high as possible (effort) and poised in complete it. Silly? I agree but it has worked with me before now. I have ! Sincerely. your own responsibility. how simple. one after the other. is. As an exercise in 'at least approaching vaguely in the direction of non-duality' may I recommend the following exercise. but if we can learn to use maximum effort while still in repose we are truly improving our selves as a machine for getting things done. It is. H. Take light and darkness. and found a quotation by the Master K. and then get the effort/repose position. whoever he was. LETTER 70 Dear Crashaw. but I shall honour you by refusing to advise you. from Tyndall. or for that matter for any such nonsense as meditation! Coo! should be lifted as relaxation to receive Yours as ever.THE WAY OPENS cosmic eyes. LETTER 69 Dear Martha. tremendously been re-reading for the umpteenth time the Mahatma Letters. before the illusion of duality was born. certain and direct But we shall learn the trick of it one day. or silence and enormous sound. We all alternate between effort and rest. The effort/rest is the most valuable. You honour me by asking my advice in your difficult situation. Thus do I meditate. and I can get silence/sound fairly easily. for in it there is no room for me. But we do see more and more straight as we patiently tear at our carefully woven you say. And this vision as exciting. Not a compromise but the sensation of both to the nth degree at the same time. than bang their heads together suddenly. Or terrific effort and complete relaxation. and if I strongly advised you to say yes or no I should rob you of the merit of a right decision. How lovely are the words of those who can see directly. Get each alternately clear in your imagining. Do this.

Does this help? Of course it does. To use first principles. and are not your concern. so to speak. . Good solving. in your mind. not even on a teacher of my standard. what you ought to do here. you tied the knot by wrong thinking or wrong action.ZEN COMES WEST your power to choose wisely next time. Yours in the 140 . Now be truthful with yourself. There I cannot help you. battle. to lean on nothing and no one. pieces as such and is just a piece of string. I say to you dogmatically. and to do here and now. falls to Having faced the fact that the problem is only in your mind. The consequences will be what they will be. by offering what I believe to be the right principles to be applied in all such situations. realise . do what you think right then you will have done all you can. The same principle applies to the choice of holidays what you or your wife want or to being faithful to your wife or not! Remove self from the mess with a pair of tweezers. but you don't want to do it. it is surely not so difficult. but only hope I shall never have to produce the guts to do what you have to do. You have made the problem First. for I am only telling you that there is no problem. with dignity and no ill will. But still. Choose as you think right. The facts are the facts. it is only to you that they are a problem. once you take self out of it and what it wants to do. only you can solve it. Part of my job in class is to help you people to stand on your own feet in all things. and indeed in all situations which are 'problems'. letting the intuition speak if possible then act and accept the consequences. and the knot. and what you need is the guts to do what you know to be right. But I can help to this extent. Remove that factor and you will that is why generally find there is no problem left. or even of having to hurt this person or that. A far more complex situation arises when one has to choose between helping this person or that. and that it is only self that made it. What part of you made the problem as such? The answer is surely clear. the lower you or self. deeply that the problem part of the situation is in your mind and in your mind only. You know quite well. and only you can unravel it. There is no problem about which is the right thing to do.

THE WAY OPENS
LETTER 71

To

Zen Class: we come to the end of another year, and for most of us So
the

it

has been

a year of visible progress. But before we part for the holidays may I make a distinction, to clarify what seems to be a growing
confusion, that between

Absolute, nothing less, experience of the Absolute while in bodily form. As such, it can have no boundaries, and is of the East and West as of North and South in any corner
is

Zen and the Zen and Zen experience

school.

Zen

is

the

of the universe.

The Zen

school of Buddhism, founded in China

principally to be found in Korea and Japan, is a group of of one religion, Buddhism, who by a special and unique persons tradition and technique, strive to develop their inner faculties to the

but

now

point

when they
his

will attain, at first in flashes

and then

at will, that

Zen
the

experience.

work of

The Buddha did not found Buddhism; followers. Nor did Bodhidharma found

that

was

Zen.

No

Teacher founds a sect or school of religion. He teaches Truth as he sees it what he sees of Truth. His followers, unable to receive this Truth on the plane on which it was given, drag it down, as a dog drags a bone off the table, in order to digest it at leisure on the
to

lower plane of the intellect. The relation, then, of Zen Buddhism Zen is that of a candle to the sun. Followers of the Nichiren

Japan concentrate on one Scripture, the Saddharmapunto the exclusion of all else. In the same way certain of the darika, Theravada school today are concentrating exclusively on the
sect of

must not

Satipatthana Sutra of the Pali Canon. Let them do so, but they call the view in front of them Buddhism. Their blinkers

and perhaps only he, wore none at all. So with Zen; it knows no boundaries, no scriptures, no specialised technique. It is, and it is for us to find it, in our own minds, which are part of All-Mind, which is No-Mind, Now teach. Teach to those who know still less than you those principles which may bring light into their darkness. Let me quote from the book I happen to be reading for the seventh or eight time. 'Men seek after knowledge', says the Master K. H. to A. P. Sinnett, 'until they weary themselves to death, but even they do not
are too narrow, whereas the Buddha,
feel

hence there

very impatient to help their neighbour with their knowledge; arises a coldness, a mutual indifference which renders
141

ZEN COMES WEST
him who knows
and inharmonious with should circulate; stagnant, it goes bad and his surroundings/ Blood poisons the body that once kept it alive. So with knowledge of the
inconsistent with himself

principles of Truth. What you know, hand on. Into the vacuum thus created life will flow with more intensity. Only a void can
successfully

demand

to

be

filled.

'Give and

it

shall

be given unto

you*

true.

Testament, magnificently effort to formulate clearly will help you to understand your own what you think you know knowledge. One has to understand very thoroughly and deeply before one can teach simply. Try, and you will see what I mean, as I, by such means, am perpetually made aware of how very
is,

like so

much

else in the

New

And

even on the lowest plane, the

little I

know.

142

CHAPTER

VI

CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION

From Talks to the Meditation Class of the Buddhist Society, 1930-39 and to the Zen Class, 1952-59. The subject of Concentration and Meditation is enormous and no attempt is here made to cover it. My purpose is to concentrate on Zen meditation, not only as practised in Japan but as most suitable for the West. For the subject as a whole I recommend Concentration and Meditation, which was compiled with the help of the Meditation Circle between 1932 and 1934 and published by the Society in 1935. It has been in print ever since and is now published by John Watkins. For Zen meditation consult Dr Suzuki's works, and in particular The Training of the Zen Buddhist Monk and his Manual of Zen Buddhism. For the Scriptures most used in Zen monasteries see Dr Edward Conze's Buddhist Wisdom Books, the Sutra of Hui-neng (Wei Lang) and John Blofeld's Zen Teaching of Huang-Po. Other useful works are Professor Ogata's Zen for the West and perhaps Chapter Eleven of my own Zen
Buddhism. I have treated the subject in two parts Part One, Concentration and Meditation, and the great distinction between them as I use those terms; and Part Two, a consideration of the fascinating but tricky subject of 'every minute Zen', or 'Usual life is very Tao',
:

and the doctrine of Here, Now and This. But first some basic principles, without understanding which the beginner will do far worse than waste his time. For the mind is the world's most powerful engine, and even as one does not allow a child to pull levers in a power-house *to see what happens*, so the

H3

ZEN COMES WEST
wise beginner knows what he
to
is

doing and why, before he

tries

do

it.

1.

Meditation

is

necessary

The more

and mental

mind is subject daily to physical, emotional the very task of keeping alive, the more is it stress in necessary to spend some time, daily if possible, in drawing on the deeps of our innate wisdom, strength and serenity, in aligning the
the Western
part with the Whole, in returning 'home' for comfort, strength and peace. From moving at the edge of the circle we need the 'still
centre of the turning world* from peripheral fog, the dust of the market place or the darkness of unlit illusion, we need to lift our
;

heads into the Light; from the exhausting heat of the 'three

fires'

of hatred, lust and illusion, we need periods of self-mastery and that peace which lies at the other end of desire.

But the occasional 'return home' is insufficient. Even flashes of what we are pleased to call direct experience are only indications
of a

movement

complex and morality have their place in that process, sooner or later the enormous task of the mind's development must be planned, and begun, and unceasingly continued. In this great enterprise I have formulated two good rules, Begin, and Walk On! In the ideal, and it is a very far ideal, it will be enough to 'meditate',

in the right direction. The total development of that entity, man, is a task of many lives, and though learning

whatever that

may mean,
it.

at

every

moment

of the daily round.

I

do not say that

this is impossible. I

a
is

man who

could do

do say that I have never met we can and shall increasingly infuse True,

the deed of the

spirit of Zen, but that, well done, the product of long mental training, produced in the 'soul's gymnasium' of the meditation hour.

moment with the

Meditation, in brief, must pass from the phase of an interesting hobby to that of a valued amenity, and thence to a necessity. When

the art and craft
2.

is

mastered there will be time for

it

to be applied.

Why

meditate!

Before taking on any new enterprise it is well to ask oneself, Why? The answers can be many, and all are selfish or unselfish, with results accordingly. To develop the mind in order to develop 'powers' is at all times folly, and generally what is popularly called

144

On the Path to Nirvana 'the first step is to live to benefit mankind'. and the sooner the would-be pilgrim on course. bear in mind what you are trying fit for a quarter of of the journey you will have to give up all meat. enough. to do.CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION the abuse of spiritual powers to selfish ends. though for the time being it is even good utterly right reason will arrive in meditation. it is not easy in City life to get enough to eat of other forms of protein without producing the fat and pasty appearance which was at one time almost synonymous with vegetarianism. But to do this at once will make you very sensitive. all alcohol. or in due 'black magic'. 'to meditate is to realise inwardly the while. or to run away from your problems. an hour or longer at a time? Do you sleep to to recuperate from the extra effort on the brain? As for 'pure' well. tea or coffee. madness and spiritual death. and thereafter to is it? Because it is the latest 'fashion'. ail sexual indulgence of any kind and even contact with other humans. then. and psychically sensitive. own development is well-progressed. The only right answer is to fit oneself the better for the service of mankind. Meanas Hui-neng told us. so that life in the crowded. whether immediately. Towards the end living. practise steeped in that great truth. whether tobacco. irrevocable and Arhat ideal. that is. on the other hand. filthy psychic atmosphere of our cities will be repulsive and almost impossible. In these conditions one can only work out one's own 'right' way at the time. the better for his salvation. But frequently confirmed. For myself I confess to the view that there are more important ways of spending time and K 145 . do you want to learn to meditate. it is cruel at our stage of evolution to be party to the killing of other mammals for our food. as in the the dedication must be thorough. Are you fill 3. all drugs. On the one hand. Are you physically sit still enough to breathe deeply and regularly. or to develop powers that will make you superior to your neighbour? Or to increase your capacity to serve? To achieve a serenity. when one's that Road Why. as in the Bodhisattva ideal. That way lies suffering untold. Of these indulgences of the self meat-eating produces the greatest problem. certainty and sense of oneness with all life which will prepare the mind for Satori and all that lies beyond? Yet this is not the right reason. The imperturbability of the Essence of Mind'.

But all have this in common. and more are being invented day by day. as the building rises any latent faults and cracks may bring it tottering to the ground. and we are all still trying! Methods are endless in their variety.ZEN COMES WEST mental energy than in troubling about what one eats. and adventures grave and gay upon the Road. nothing holy. not the greatest master in the world can do one hour of the work for you. and fears. the rule is moderation and common-sense. . much less to meditate with any hope of success. violent views if aggressive to fixed in your conclusions or the reverse. worries. Cracks in the mind should be found and healed before meditation and split the mind. No books. and all of it. plexes. the man full of troubles. and would that all of you had already learnt this lesson. then wait. and this is the heart of 'Buddhism'. which is probably the most difficult of all to learn. 5. new channels in the stubborn mind deliberately dug and widened. . The amount of Work ingenuity exercised by the human mind in getting someone else to do its spiritual labour is staggering. the crack may widen Only methods can be taught out your own salvation. that one must begin. and one must continue. The effort will produce its stress and strain. Are you mentally balanced? If beset with comall differing opinion. There But in the 146 . later. 4. no lectures. Are you emotionally fit? The man in love. is undertaken. projections. is not yet in a condition to concentrate. You must do the work. All these are fingers pointing to the moon. too timid to hold any views at all lest someone of a stronger mind cry 'Boo' to you. The development and of the mind must rise from sure foundations. or early stages new habits are being created. For the rest. Common is needed all the time nothing mysterious about meditation. there will be difficulties innumerable. and I am certain that the ancient teaching is right that a false belief is a far than a host of misgreater obstacle on the road to enlightenment behaviour on the physical plane. hates. the pupil and the pupil alone must produce an inexhaustible supply of 'guts' to keep him moving on sense is the Way. the man pursuing a vendetta. occult. said the All-Enlightened One. But whatever the method chosen.

The whole man The self is called the 'shadow* summit modern psychology. The shadow must die. There will be time enough to discuss the view from the mountain top when you get there. so must the Self in time. there is time then to reach further. and aspects of his muddy boots to a is light. regular practice begin with three hours a day. the growing. and in time the joys of hard-won achievement. and takes these are one. in which the teacher. then the new habits As in the development of new muscles will be formed. cleaning them at times. Essence of The immediate purpose should be clear Fix the immediate goal and reach it. The light that throws the shadow climbs. the Light which is not yours or mine but the one Light born of the Darkness of the unborn Universe. and the SELF. all one unity. While none of us has yet achieved the One does it matter what is neither One nor two? Let us be modest in immediate purpose. and the practice will become a habit as much as shaving or doing the hair. pleasant and unpleasant. take your boots with you. which moves the SELF. which is No-Mind. will take some pride but claim no share. results 6. of his spiritual Everest. leaving but the Mind which is All-Mind. But there will be results. fade. there will be time enough to discuss what lies beyond when we have achieved so far. Meanwhile.CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION there must be patience and but never too much. will to achieve. 147 . then the habit will become a necessity. There is too much vague and hindering talk of the nature of Satori. is involved The the in the Self. enormous only in our 'spirit of enquiry' and our insatiable 7. or the comparative value of this and that 'experience'. become no more. It is useless to persistence. and the most longed-for hour of the day. At first there will be a struggle with the mind. but a shadow needs an object to cast it and The object is the Self. There will be no quick worth having. The whole man self. if any. evolving something to Enlightenment. as it is foolish to attempt to develop biceps with three hours' work on the first day with the dumb-bells. For most of us the Goal can be the One. nor should the eyes be looking for them.

'. or with no meaning at all. The object now may be the door- the process must be reversed. 1 was spell-bound. from sharpening a pencil to making war. Now comes the rub. There can be no meditation of value until the will. By Concentration I mean the deliberate creation or development of the mental faculty of focusing consciousness at will on a chosen object. for as long as directed. will focus as directed. First. . Concentration versus Meditation I use this word versus between these two to emphasize the profound distinction uses of the mind. spiritual. or the television. . and outside its beam there is the darkness of complete disinterest. So to Concentration. In cold blood the you. mind used is under the control of the dance she practises for months and years at the barre\ before the engineer attempts to build up a bridge he spends long years on is Before the dancer permitted to learning the necessities of his science. or at least boredom and resentment at the exercise. It is the forging of the instrument. Here their toys. The searchlight has picked out the church steeple or the enemy plane. But. and far too lazy to learn. even against desire knob. such as the relation between devotion and pity. like a koan. hence such phrases as by .' Now my subject. I could not tear eyes away. and the there for there distinction is have this in considerable. active dislike of the object. the development of the -special muscles needed for a special job. is no effort to exclude other interests from the field of attention is little or no energy left to focus elsewhere. all the usual examples of concentration common. I am pressing this point because too many would-be meditators are quite incapable of Concentration of the type needed. that the object is holding the subject's atten- tion. a play. By a driver will drive where he will. but that selectivity of attention which is necessary for efficiency in any job. the pull is piece of elastic. Meditation I mean the deliberate use of this instrument to a chosen end. fascinated from the object end of the 'My attention was held .. This is not in the least attention. must decide the object.. a faculty used every day by every Children concentrate fiercely an audience watches. the cutting of the tool. or abstract. which is for something else. and can then be switched elsewhere or switched off. with full a street accident or royalty. under the technician's hand. it is human on being who is not an idiot.ZEN COMES WEST 8. indeed 148 . emotionally or mentally. It is the building of the car which the creation of a searchlight which.

strength or power of mind is utterly evil. is the power to stop the mind from running about. How this is accomplished is. nor should they be unnecessarily displayed or money taken for their use. and only then. according to tradition. by one means or another. This problem so large that famous scriptures give it their whole attention. that which distinguishes the Pratyeka Buddha from the 149 . And so to Meditation Again consider the purpose of meditation and see that the motive is at all times pure. for there is or material that we know. To abuse the possession of greater wisdom. for as long as you will. and comes under the large heading of 'skill in means' (upaya kausalyana\ of which so much else. But these nothing completely spiritual 'higher* forces. is said in Mahayana literature. Never should a claim be made to their possession. until you decide to switch it off you may usefully and successfully meditate. are immensely powerful. of focusing the whole power of the mind as you will. Some fight the intruders. But sooner or later. Then. This does not mean that Meditation is banned during the years necessary for the training of the mind in Concentration. emotions and desires which will fight. The opening sentence of Patanjali's famous Yoga Aphorisms may be is translated. how to exclude from this chosen field the host of thoughts. as yet unknown to science and to all but a few 'spiritual' forces. and even to keep it for oneself alone is. is The term psychologists. examine them and let them go. the dancer ready to interwith a perfectly controlled body. Toga is the hindrance of the modifications of the thinking principle'. to use his trained and obedient instrument to do what he wants Now the car is ready to be driven. pret. 9. to enter the roped-off field. or in simpler English.CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION the enormous problem. but what is the use of attempting to hit the bull's eye when you cannot draw to do. control is gained. of composing a symphony when you don't know a sharp from a flat? But given this new power of selectivity of wave-length. the bow. and have their own laws. For now the meditator enters the field of of course comparative. like so much a matter of choice of method. the subtleties of Giselle. as though with a life of their own. others welcome them. others just ignore them. is the pupil ready to begin to meditate.

let it be early the day the better. As to time. Even if the eyes being closed induces sleep. lead to the most serious results. The theme itself breath 150 . as I believe that it tends to induce a fixed stare which is badfor the eyes. and is perhaps the oldest of all. Let those who can sit comfortably on the floor in the traditional Buddhist posture do so. but I agree one ease go past one's station! may with for meditation is for a long while immaterial. Let the induced pressure be conserved and not dissipated from carelessly 'earthed* hands and feet. but also the body. with the seat itself a few inches higher than the ankles. The for the time to be regular than to aim at mind creates its own habits. The can be used. But it is more important any particular time. But use the breath just as you breathe. and next to that the ordinary cross-legged posture position known to all small boys. when not supervised by a very skilful teacher. on several planes. but the earlier in fresher and the earth current is a rising rather than a falling tide. now more necessary meditation a sudden shock to the body can produce headaches. in the palpitation and the like. does that matter? When you wake you begin again. If such a place cannot be found home. I repeat. and with the muscles balanced so that breathing is easy and regular and the body can so sit for half an hour without any movement at all. But I am equally convinced that for a long way on the Way there is no need for such a posture. Personally I can I is As to posture happily meditate in a train or even a bus. The 'circuit' should be closed by folding the hands and in some way closing the feet together.ZEN COMES WEST Buddhas of the one It is Infinite Compassion. This is to make it easier to protect the mind from interference. of whom Gautama was in history for a regular time to be observed when the meditator can keep himself apart. The whole 'Self is. erect and yet relaxed. have firm ideas. so long as the head and spine be kept erect and the circuit closed. for in deep we know. I do not myself approve the eyes half-open. for the whole being is or late. will be ready for spiritual meal. Let others sit as they will. a powerful generator of the force which in one of its forms we call electricity. and like the its animals at the Zoo at their feeding time. I do not doubt that the full 'lotus* the ideal. and without the Indian Yogic exercise of fancy breathing which can. the nearest Church will do nicely.

This helps to reduce the risk of an inflated ego. *no seed'. breathing. the thoughts. and you will not need these notes. a concept. Some watch the breathing. there will be time enough to go further. thus making room for the Life and Joy of the universe to enter in. however you think of these things. and the last thought of feeling of self must die before that moment of awareness can be attained. more free of the stains of hatred. moving higher above the world of men into that of the Enlightened Ones. more that of the Self. the emotions. that we do not leave the road. When we have learned and to meditate with seed. From theme to theme. a phrase. all the time.e. Then trying to preserve the link with Reality as long as possible. Dhyana. come gently back to 'reality'. below and everywhere. You are withdrawing from the edge of existence to its centre. remember. What gross immodesty for us to discuss them! last stage Do we argue the niceties of the on Everest as we stroll up Hampstead Heath? But this we must watch. empties the unreal self. like. nor do I Prajna and the speak of the subtle distinctions between Samadhi. You are raising consciousness above its habitual level to one less immersed in the unreal self or 'you'. .CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION you are now developing and hoping to control the most powerful machine in the whole world. Don't play the fool with it. and ensures that your period of time thus spent has been of some use to mankind. long or short. the higher Self in the sense that we have agreed to use that term. Let us be practical and modest. The Goal. is Non-duality and nothing less. At the end of the period. with a theme or chosen object. the human mind. i. Therefore I say nothing of Contemplation. For all these methods are devices all are right for some at some time none is right for all. Use the four Brahma Viharas to send your love and compassion and joy and equanimity to all that lives. or for anyone . it is better at first to begin with a few minutes Vanning up* exercises. till nought is left but the silence or the white Light or whatever device you choose. But whatever the theme. some take Pansil. This 15* . above. lust and illusion. from meditation with 'seed* to that with to concentrate. some 'pass through the bodies' as I have shown you. or higher. share your treasure with all mankind. discarding the body. But now you are going deeper.

and Satori plane of that Wheel. 10. For the latter ignores the Bhakti element of mystical devotion. nebulous yet certain in attack. and and joyous and enormous fun. feminine. Beware of trance conditions. Professor Ogata and those is short. and 'most enjoyable* condition of lotus-eating peace. He who touches the fringe of the Absolute knows and does not talk of it. all. You Becoming. and fierce. It hacks at thought as a desperate man escape from it. I believe. positive/negative. Rinzai stabs at the balloon of self. lies at going round on the Wheel of right-angles. also boisterous ferociously subtle. It is who have sudden. . indifferent in defeat. and this is far beyond the most pleasant condition of high-thought repose as of any trance of any kind. The difference is that of a flash of lightning to the warm glow of an electric stove. to the Zen Meditation foregoing applies. though it is not easy to get information beyond the merest platitude. the intuition. receiving/giving. Rinzai. it lives intensely in the Here and Now and This. eschews the koan and mondo beloved of Rinzai Zen. It is desperately direct. The faculty by which this true experience will be gained is Buddhi. It learnt their is Zen from them. Soto Zen. special about Zen? Only the precise definition of its object and nothing less. one with Beware of revolving are still like the proverbial squirrel in thought-machine. and some of you miss it. which we know in the West through the writings of Dr Suzuki. as is far more gentle. it has been said. But the Rinzai and the Soto schools use very different methods to this end. and therefore impatient of any direct assault of you. alert/relaxed. introvert and con- doubtful place in a templative many Rinzai circle. The the right attitude for meditation is perfectly balanced between the opposites. What is there Satori. I understand. who have but moment spent in anything less than the on Reality. tears down every concept and the stillness cuts down the jungle to of serene delight. and the blind alleys and worse to the subtlest to either side are infinite in from naked self-hypnosis number.ZEN COMES WEST Middle Way is infinitely narrow. and laughing all the time. I will not have it that the school of gentle loving-kindness only is compatible with Rinzai Zen. The to all meditation.

must learn to stand on their own feet. and its members look to find it. in the old phrase. 11. for the paradox stands that only he who is selfcontrolled is free. The devotion accorded a true teacher in the more devotional East is too apt in the West to The to the teacher degenerate into a psychological transference. When for any reason the leader considers can benefit no more from membership of the he must be allowed to say so. in the sense of . 'The Game is more than the player of the game. True. You appreciate the value of an agreed self-discipline. but this is the reward of achievement. The 'Great Spirit of Enquiry' must be backed by a trained and indomitable will. and the can be remarkable. The two not pupils in a group. so he was right in saying. and never by two and two'. impossible. gentle and at peace now. and largely won. so must the man of Zen be fighting all the time for Enlightenment. For us there is the need of im-mediate urgency. And so to Results It is cold truth that results should not be sought. 'as Any gossip or ill-will at personality level makes smooth and efficient work at higher levels of consciousness Members the fingers of one hand'. Group Meditation of a meditation group should be. Just as Kipling was .CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION The Zen Class of the Buddhist Society aims at such a goal. leave when he will. side by side. there are those who seem serene and simple. with embarrassment and stoppage of all development for the pupil. even as a man whose head is held under water fights for air. The form of that fighting is for each to decide meanwhile we are trying to fight together. the sign that the battle is over. But gentle browsing in the mind will not produce those 'moments' which are out of time. at least too right in saying that 'the Race is run by one and one. damage done by one person indulging in such teacher or leader must be respected. and the strenuously. In the same way a pupil can group. But in either case the parting should be serene a particular member and 12. but in Western lands no more than respected. The effort must be continuous and considerable. as elsewhere. dignified. Even as those who fight with naked swords. and not on the teacher's. and he serves them ill if he does assist them to do so.

And the only equipment literature of meditation that says for the journey that I have found of value is this right Motive. a state of habitual consciousness which is neither in Satori nor out of it. he is. and these may not appear for in time. following to one's friends. like all else. Twice you have considered the subject in the Questions set you. back to the grindstone. or the market-place. and the right results. and unlimited Guts! of 13. and we have it well in mind that in Buddhism. as distinct from other 'religions'. The Bodhisattva vows. But Picture 9 is 'Back to the Source'. recited in I Zen monasteries. and these vows are daily Meanwhile begin. never to take the reward that is earned until the last blade of grass has entered Buddhahood. and greater ability to 'cope'. must be ever served. and carried out without pause. right Modesty. and the picture is a blank circle. at the 8th stage both Ox and Man have gone out of sight. serenity. meditating all the time. is not the end of spiritual effort. in the office or the home world but not of it'. certainty. be it group or some greater Brotherhood. then comes the last Picture. The inner effects are what matters to true a long while spiritual development. The felt effects will come right. results. with plenty of capital letters.' The team. little in all the know more. The wise man is concerned with causes. Thereafter the ail-but Sage is 'in the He wears the Yellow Robe internally. will save the ego from its pride. 'Every Minute' Meditation In one sense the whole work of the Zen Class is dedicated to this end. Judge's great phrase. In the end this is the only form of meditation needful. 'in the scorn of consequence'. or even its main purpose. must come. and then continue. Results for the individual are only of value to the extent that they serve that end. it is wise to forget results in the playing of the game for the sake of the game. in W. But they will come. whatever else he is doing. Meanwhile. No sudden flash of intuitive understanding it is . Q. In other words. In the famous ten Oxherding Pictures (see Dr Suzuki's Manual of Zen Buddhism).ZEN COMES WEST Ship is more than the crew. and there is therefore little to be said. and the team that needs all our help all the time is mankind. If the work is right. seldom with effects. be patiently attained. 'Entering the City with Bliss-bestowing Hands'. as Tennyson would say. but a high stage of development and must. the great Supreme.

an article. Then have the phrase belonging the half hour. the quarter to the fortnightly period truly at the front of the back of the mind' . of living the spiritual life in the material.m. or one of the most mettlesome. . The other is to work consciously towards this spiritual infusion. as one of you put it? How to 'infuse an active life with Zen. formation can itself present a profound change in the personality. dynamic thinking. This is active. It is helpful. Imagine yourself. of achieving 'a devotion to minute. best approach this ultimate faculty. 6 and 9 p. One is to leave the infusion to the unconscious. in outline and in actual phrases. perhaps too profound to leave life comfortable with one's neighas someone the called it. necessary to learn to teach if only as a useful way of learning. . holy things from the saving of a pin to a healing meditation'. and avoiding the danger of becoming a spiritual snob. to do it all the time and not to reserve one's Zen (as brandy) only for crises and best occasions'. This conscious practice can begin with the present discipline of an act of awareness. if it is not yet true. So he is giving these more worth-while thoughts priority over chatter. to make it clear to the humblest enquirer. and an integration of many lives. that is. 'What . use the text-book in the pocket or purse. as another wrote? There seem to be two main ways. { ready to enter and fully occupy the nothing else which has to be given This habit. so to deepen and prolong one's periods of inturned meditation that the mind can be left to produce the flower of that practice in daily life. mind moment there is bours and friends. or at least a contribution to a discussion on some theme. once formed and all this is a matter of habitpriority. Let this be expanded to every time the clock strikes the hour. The person concerned will be found to be 'pre-occupied' with other thoughts. focused on the Society's Shrine at 12. IS5 . or the theme in hand work out what you have to say. and they are not alternative. Imagine a friend suddenly asking you. Bhagavad Gita. and all these and more are available in pocket editions. preparing for a talk. Hui-neng or what you please for years on end. allowing for periods of reaction. and if I may mount my hobby-horse. drivel and gossip.CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION will produce this faculty. positive. One can mull over the Dhammapada> Voice of the Silence. For a change. for the is the wholeness How do we whole man is harnessed by it. creating new forms of old truths.

as in the 5th of the Mumonkwan (see Ogata's Zen for the West. And fourthly. be taken as they come. integration. let it be done. Secondly. they are all mind-made the problem is not in the situation but in the mind of the man who domestic difficulty. problem. The mystical yet dynamic awareness of the sole Reality of the Essence of Mind. The situation may be a minor is the doctrine of is Karma . But all these problems have much in common. as the man at the second floor window who may be in sunlight. and only differ in our ability to know it. and impersonally. and the illusion of all else the fact that we are all enlightened. But once can use in meditation phrases deliberately chosen to help in daily life. impossible ones described in Zen writings. the advice of The Voice of Silence. there though with troubled mind. where there is a genuine choice to be made between two duties or two ways of helping. Say to yourself. This faculty of facing and becoming one with innumerable situations is part of the training in Zen adopted in Japan. proclaimed. wholeness Nonduality. p. . of a hundred things which must be said. and listen. it is seen that there was no problem save the interference of personal desire. by abstracting it the problem is in most cases solved. practise making them 156 so. it is safe to choose that which makes of those factors a ! the more directly leads to oneness. as the Patriarch Hui-neng the One mind . in their nature and treatment. and let the consequences.. 97).' These truths are true. that is.. to the car-drivers hooting may be for him no it is decided what is the right action. directly or unpleasant. problem which he has to solve. there is the factor of self involved. First. or the . pleasant firmly. and is there a problem left? What remains is often the need to do what you now see clearly to be the only right thing to do Thirdly. what do 'I' want here? Remove that factor.ZEN COMES WEST of Self-reliance without a God? with mystical Christianity? What is Zen?' What Zen compared Are you ready to answer? Why not? And so the mind is trained to face and solve the manifold problems and 'difficult* situations of daily life. in every problem troubling one as such. *Look within thou art Buddha. at each other in the ground-level fog. From that viewpoint the solution may be obvious or. attempt to raise consciousness above the tension of the two horns of the dilemma.

I have told you many times. and will be Now tomorrow as it was Now yesterit day. You may even find the truth happily to the (non-existent) mediately enlightened. 'What is my Tao?' Said Nansen.' Carry on. but you can decide very often what This shall be. but it will take time as we use that term. come! The practice of 'every minute' Zen will come. and other pairs of the opposites. In an hour's time you may be somewhere else. the timeless. 'Ordinary mind is Tao'. 'Should we try to attain it? 'If you try to attain it you will fail'. for a millionth of a second ago is Past. Difficulties will dissolve. It is always Now. what you are concerned with Now and Here. self. and pleasant and unpleasant. and is not less holy for being manure to be put on the compost heap. said Nansen. you will still be Here (though it may be a new 'here'). and see the terms good and bad. begins to fade away. And you can only be concerned with This. or more so It will for being incense for the Shrine. You will be the more able to cope with all that life may bring to you. So only the Now exists. It is always the product of your karmic past. and walk on them Goal. cosmic. Your friends will be less your friends in that you have less need of them. And Now? How long is Now? In one sense no length at all. Said Jyoshu.CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION Thus the practice of Here. There is nowhere for you but Here. J . and of Suzuki and all those of the East. your enemies have less power to wound as that which alone they can injure. Mumon's comment is to the point. and here will but repeat it briefly. and call for much patience. Past and future will less tangle you with memories or hope. 'Even though Jyoshu was imin the this section of talk. first time after IS7 . he will reach that state for the studying Zen for more than thirty years. Now and This will grow. distinctions blend and blur. You will stand the more firmly on your mondo which dominates Nansen was once asked by Jyoshu. memory of the non-existent Past or imagination of the non-existent Future. All else is memory or imagination. as labels you attach to circumstance. Thus there is nothing else which can occupy your mind than This. and a millionth ahead is not yet come. everlasting Now. of Eckhart and a score of Western mystics. own two feet.

in the Mumonkwan where the man is hanging over the As is was told long to fit precipice create by his teeth. by way of training. one of adjustment. Professor Ogata at the 1957 School invented a situation to get our reaction to it. neither wanting anything from the situation for himself. and life is certainly presenting them every day. for example. is modern terminology. He is unattached but not indifferent. For it implies a considerable degree of emotional maturity. one of the main purposes of Zen training the pupil to cope with any situation at any time. to people to circumstance. and W. is Out of 'The Address to the Nansen holding up the cat in order to (see Ogata's Zen for the West Gabb made much in his own The Goose Situation'. coin. The ideally balanced man is neither aggressive nor shy. The man capable of coping with 158 . J. Hence. no doubt. but here as always I can but offer the principles which work in Summer my own case and may work The task. nor resenting its possession by others. the impossible situations' described. balanced between the opposites of introversion and extraversion. I ago.CHAPTER VII THE APPROACH TO ZEN LETTER 72 Dear Mrs Mansfield. As you could not attend the I series of talks on 'Every Minute Zen' am answering your letter as to coping with situations as they arise. How can we train ourselves to the 'right' reaction to these situations? I think we can do it. and seeing the inside and the outside as two sides of a All this is easy to say but hard to use. or such a violent situation Appendix I). and in in yours.

stance should be that of the boxer or the swordsman. 'you' cannot cope. On the one hand there must be no will to impose one's own decision and desires onto the knot of circumstance on the other. So long as there is the man to cope and the thing to be coped with there are two things and not one. This brings in the Zen technique of no-technique.' Until the subject (you) and the situation (the object) are one. can keep it open to the intuition. But this is When we achieve the summit we need not seek for it. there must be tension. so far as that lovely ideal possible. and indeed cannot be hurt by anything which another does or says. 'letting the mind abide nowhere'. and in the bustle and noise of the market-place. lust and illusion that cloud the Light that shines eternally within.e. obeying the small We its voice of is promptings. How to get the goose out of the bottle? easy to say. standing on our own feet and not on our neighbour's. alert. The level or plane on which it operates is a matter of habit. i. and the state of mind. cope perfection is the . as a bird that feels the sun and the wind and the rain and knows them to be one. at least unhurtful. but letting it fly free. the old tension between the 'opposites. It implies also a mental stability which is all too rare. facing an angry employer or a proposal of marriage. final art. All this is a matter of balance. and in all things. a difficult Board Meeting or a row in the kitchen. For in the end the situation is mind-made. in work and play. and a willingness to help. tense yet relaxed. conviction or logical conclusion. an acceptance of all that is because it is. the any crises implies that he has . there will be 159 . The faculty for problem-solving is the intuition. No-mind.THE APPROACH TO ZEN must have his emotions under remarkable control. as seems right. and it is one with the viewer. How? To find the Way to a mountain top. or the man of Judo poised. 'There. In a crowd or in the desert. fooling and recreation. no running away. often in a hurry. At the moment we can but improve our ability to fruit of long self-discipline and practice in the the art of living. in opinion. go to the top and look for it. at least not adding more than we need to the fires of hatred. in any way. it's out'. which no 'feelings' to get hurt. and not leaning on any teacher or Master or God. How to prepare the mind deliberately to cope? can keep it high. situations Meanwhile we have to cope with world of and each other in the duality. one-pointed on the situation yet desiring nothing at all. We We can keep the level.

emotionally he is calm and self-collected. and does not heat the very atmosphere it make available as 160 . And that is whether you will or no. He moves a thousand where he wills without fuss. or have I?). If 5 Karma be 'ill* true. Wrap yourself up in it. the effects of our according as we label them. that is. on the psychic plane he will conserve the enormous power of sex. Try coping with a crowd pouring out of a train when you want to move against them. It follows that the 'reservoir' of good of a well-doing man becomes considerable. for healing. just nothing at all (which is often a very powerful form of action) it may be that delicate variation and alternation of push-let go-pushlet go. strengthening and enlightening others. if you are skilful. There is only one thing-you-problem. and eat it. he will not waste energy. It is not 3>0w-m-problem. like the butcher with his knife in Chuang-Tze. but a oneness in which the only trouble is that you will regard fierce it as two! Your action may be and immediate. a step there and. you will bump no-one but quite soon arrive. he can direct it. Physically. LETTER 73 Dear Martha. or the least doubt of his ability to do so. Meanwhile. just move. far off for us yet.ZEN COMES WEST no coping. But he must learn to conserve his strength thus acquired. and where he will. as the doer of good is less and less causes come back to us. eat it. In time. and on all planes. until you come to that stage when each act of good is so impersonal that no 'self exists to take the beneficial consequences. like bird-in-cage. do anything but don't look at it with the eyes of a beholder and wonder what to do about it. or it may be doing . for 'good or attached to the results of his well-doing. which is dissipated in sexual discharge. and as all is one that reservoir increases the bank of good available to all. just look at the next 'difficult situation* with a bored and placid eye. Yours (having coped with that situation. a little here. Don't pushkeep ice-cold. Only when you learn the trick of at-oneing yourself with the problem can you just walk through it as if it were not there. and forget it. effort. digest it. Why be so bashful about acquiring merit? You do. like an English Police Officer with a large and peevish crowd.

and it is one with the All-Mind. the force is not ours but that of the Universe is but one Force. the results of our thoughts and deeds. and not merely sentimentally spiritual L 161 . If we are secretly annoyed at not being thanked. or even found a hospital. mentally he forms no opinions. in the union of merit. to all mankind. And in the spiritual field he wastes no force at all. More imis the fact that there is only one SELF. It is only the good action done with the intent to much less a good action. it is also the last. True. fear. or Absolute Mind which is AIL Get these truths into your head as plain simple facts. but the efforts of the puny part have accumulated the momentum which will carry the fighter through the mind-barrier to No-Mind.THE APPROACH TO ZEN around him with incessant bursts of love. is it that we to be sure that the merit of the deed was safely banked? wanted Meanwhile we are not yet beyond suffering. hate. pay for the printing of a who Buddhist book. And until we attain satori we need that reservoir of strength. jealousy and general excitement. LETTER 74 Dear Silver. as Tom calls it. portant than any analysis is and equally each self. and the fruits of every act before you do it. every ounce of it. makes no decisions. For 'if the first there step is to live to benefit mankind'. spell it how you will. To the extent he succeeds in this high ideal he is a dynamo of enormous power. in the sense of bearing. It Self analysis of self. transfers no criticism unless called on to do so. able to draw on huge reserves of strength as needed. but are we free from the same weakness? One test is the extent acquire merit that those in the East is so We to which we are indifferent to thanks when we have done good. which alone will enable the one- pointed ferociously-determined mind to break through to Enlightenment. Yours. So go on acquiring merit. or NoMind. is all one in each 'unit'. the shadow of the Self. And merit is such strength. by offering it. and you know the way to gather the most in the minimum of time? By giving it away as fast as you get it. Don't over-do the and each one. Try it. may laugh at build a pagoda. in order to acquire merit. to work up the 'head of steam'. so to speak. that we know as a man with a name and address.

some find that they begin by becoming more sensitive to each other's personalBut as these ities. as distinct from satori itself. the the awaresynthetic faculty of the mind rather than the analytic. and all'. distinctions are falsely imagined'. Sincerely. for it is the transition from the relative to the Absolute. In Class we have found that consciousness to function more and more at the level of Self. 162 . by years and lives of self-training. I see that historically it was of importance to stress the sudden nature of true I take the view. and you will see the meaning of as yet pays meta-physics. that is. though spilt been Enlightenment.. and this only when or do anything but smile? But the approach to this no-moment of Now is and must be gradual. That is TRUE! Try to live for in that new life is much new splendour and a new-found joy. Hamlet over a cup of tea. The experience of satori. we have earned that moment is no neutral point between the opposites night and day. and the sense of profound unity transcends the friction of the personalities. . Unfortunately. it comes. or can we say anything . step by step. but it is more accurate to say that as we strive to be ready for it 'the readiness is So do not try to solve these cosmic opposites Just go direct for what you nakedly and fiercely want. Remember that 'all it. hence unpleasant jealousies and spiteful gossip. To that extent we can strive for it. LETTER 75 Dear Rodney. The answers to all the rest will said. and between those two there is not. that too much ink has on this question of Gradual and Sudden. There as at dawn between . it may be wrongly. It is this oneness that we need. nor can there actual The 5 ever be a bridge. the inner delumps and bumps get rubbed off in class relationship ideals with a velopment opens.ZEN COMES WEST row of capital letters. is the result of causes . 'moment of Enlightenment must be sudden in terms of time. and 'direct' is the key word. and of that weta-Science to which science as each 'unit' moves up its no regard.. ness of oneness in the face of apparent differences. it becomes more sensitive to those about it. back in relativity can we say . This is the world of duality but there is none who is aware of this 'which is Absolute. but surely we of the Rinzai school of Zen appreciate that both are true.

it is a waking up to facts. and we see nothing straight and truly at all. I tie up my own not? They are cut. or any reason or motive for doing good. a sense of being at the heart of a mighty monster which is all creation. all fingers of one cosmic hand. the untrue self is being allowed to die. all this question of suffering. but don't call it 'worrying'. Thereafter it is true to say. cosmic facts. though bits of the One. this sense of unity transcends all kindness. suffer joy or pain at a particular moment. the awareness of a tiny light within that is not my light or yours. which is not dreary. in your but by then you will not trouble to look for them Yours suddenly. For thus we can see nothing but our own reflection of desire or aversion. finger it is when Why Compassion. then no matter. In this vast agony and joy there is also serenity.THE APPROACH TO ZEN in the end appear. I tie up yours. ! own mind . but the flaming joy in the light of which I see the whole universe. is the waking to cosmic consciousness. and to feel that great heart beating as one's own. all exactly apportioned to the causation of that particular part. And this is in no way dreary and depressing. Here is a deep. which is SELF. it is Law and Right and it is Good.e. an expansion of consciousness to nothing less than the universe. all . to feed the very ego which should be in the throes of death. so to speak. If all is indeed one. self and compassion is of a muddle'. then all our joy and suffering is one joy and suffering. as it were. LETTER 76 Dear Mary. In this unified field of experience compassion is vastly more than being kind. reason for back to it again and again in Class is that with inturned coming Of course 'a bit My meditation it is all too easy to get 'self-centred. where they have always been. On the begun to contrary. as I see it. tremendously deep stirring of consciousness. i. but terribly exciting and rather frighteningly true. The danger lies in projecting our self onto things and people and circumstance and letting it stick there. But if the turning inward is a turning to the common Self in all of us. and by now you don't doubt it.[No. as I firmly aver. In compassion we wake to oneness. that no man who is happy has live. or preconception of belief and outworn values. and act accordingly.

It knows nothing. for I I am do with exceeding lack of darning. this isn't true either.ZEN COMES WEST of yet to make it so we must each of us work our fingers to the bone in deeds. for there is no one T. self-creating. and face of loveliness and Zen. Here let me over: simplify. having and this T is jealous and this God. I am A logic' it to you. but much delight. and I So. And self. It is all one composite. Take though first it the (to us) concept of the Absolute. I care not. adequately or at all. Zen you say you are now ready for the logic of it does not follow that I can explain as Dr Suzuki calls it. Class hits the target this rejoices and shares the no idea what is is bored. revolving. and I don't know why I am trying to say what I can't say. Next step To know. It is utterly void of all distinctions. changing. everything is RIGHT. not even the concept of Nothingness. All. and we shall find them so. It is lovely when a ray of light comes in! But if equals Not-A. But you know all this. Be it so. But I know that Rightness that Tightness is the is the heart of the Buddha-dhamma. It is both absolute Consciousness and absolute Unconsciousness. it must divide itself. Dr Suzuki cheerfully explains. . expanding. and say that the Absolute becomes Two. Good LETTER 77 Dear Brampton. about skill. of kindness and sympathy and healing help. so glad to hear you have 'bored holes in the ceiling* of your roof of thought. them all. as concepts. though it is briefly. I am. our 'original face'. Yet according as I get on with the job in hand. the which friend's socks. But as bound up with 'Why God created the Universe'. AM! you say. Non-Duality must become Two. or Self or SELF? To hell with What they are they are. Is that clearer? Like mud. and get on with your knitting or your boy to darn my own. and in it. though there 164 is. each moment. though the T expands and shrinks each second or think of me. infinite I. and I will do my best. Think. and Tao and T T happening. Meanwhile of time. (absurd sounds) what absoluteness means. It is but it is nothing no thing. When someone in reward of joy.

The Absolute becomes One then Two and then Three. yet remaining himself. Only here. or state of No-Mind. Therefore again. In this No-logic. meta-logic Truth! Now. but to be snared by no illusion. or absence of thought-fetters. Therefore. and to be. Now you have Knower. which is super-sense. which is their relation. no projection of self. If A is A it is only because A is not-A. Agreed? But A is only A because it is not. as Dr Suzuki says. of No-Mind Only! Have we arrived? Here's hoping. to act. and this is the big jump. before God broke himself in two to be God. which is No-Mind. behind the moment of division.God. God sees and knows himself. A is A. But he pays the price for his knowledge. If A were only A it would not be A. and for the first time is the Mind free to 'abide no-where to alight as it will. and rationalism. and the world's bondage of 'sense'. the stage between of One To what does the One return? The in two so that something may know something other the third factor > being knowledge. can we cease to see two as two and see it as One made twofold. thus only will it be free to think. he lessens his Absoluteness by a division which cannot obtain in the Absolute. being two things and the relation between them. he is able to see himself and know himself to be God. to know that he is God he must cease to be God. Known and Knowledge. Now transfer this to other symbols or ciphers. You can conceive One and can easily conceive three. but from the plane j . To know himself as God he must cease to be God. and to fly away as it will to fresh 'becoming'. You can't conceive just two. We can and do talk Non-Sense. He becomes God in ceasing to be God. Try it. Agreed? To know that he is God he must divide himself of course. answer is to Non-Duality the Absolute).THE APPROACH TO ZEN ('All things return to the One. Very well. before there was Two. 165 . he is God because and to the extent that he is woZ-God. He is God only as he looks at himself as not. So what happens? For God to be God he must know that he is God. Are you there? By projecting himself (or a part of himself but this is quibbling in Theology). God is God because he is not-God. Now you see the point of seeking 'your original face'.A. in this state of consciousness or Mind. Why Three? Because no man can even conceive Twoness. we are free of logic. We must get back.

to be the centre pushing pressure efficient. above all else. but if it is really so deliberately shift our centre we shan't know when we get there! from self to Self and so on. now frantically trying to get back there. centre of the turning world'. I was most interested in your description of moving mark of true I think we have to face it that the distinguishing experience satori. in that serenity. impersonal doing of it . must be a perpetual shift of centre ever nearer to the 'inmost centre in us all. to a new centre. is. to get one can't. What seems to be one sees the whole happening is a change of centre from which world of including one's own ego. is lovely.. 'I am are our attempts at "acceptance" or beginning to see how futile or any other qualities we are pleased to think of as "compassion". but then find that a new centre has This is 'the still We for a 'moment'. virtues the ego cannot change his spots. . As another member wrote to me. we acted. . the disappearance for that 'moment' of a self-ish T. There and the job to be done and the is just the Is-ness of Here and Now it across. For to know you don't are having an experience there must be an I to know. where truth abides in fulness*. is that we when we come and out. is I agree with you that the relief from selfenormous. When we apply this to states of consciousness. 166 . The change is an abandonment of the self-centre. or anything like it. and satori. as Browning calls it. at J these rare periods. they have no validity at all. are like bluebottles buzzing. thought-less'. which we dealt with in centre questions of Karma. move and it must be into action. but that to help others attain? I suppose you are right does not mean that one does not try! Yours off-centre till the next moment comes. there and the centres at which that consciousness functions.ZEN COMES WEST LETTER 78 Dear Mrs Wilmer. the serenity in which one can. .. and are appeared suddenly from which. I logically I know when we are having it only seem to remember Dr Suzuki saying this of can see why it must be so. Compassion one of the sets of Questions. which has ceased appearances. motiveless. lovely indeed to pass one's life From that and Harmony. But how to teach it.

is any more than he utterly of each opposite in its No man is utterly good or evil. in that state before the pairing-off took place. a forced blend of the opposites. murder me. If there that I am not short and young and Chinese being in a world of opposites. so to speak. bursting with the controlled energy of a tremendous will. onepointed. all but asleep. in terrific all-out effort find complete passivity and together! In meditation the mind must be held tense. and you your eyes to the plane on which Truth alone can be found. See the potentialities other side. 'Give up thy life if thou wouldst live' is paradox. the Present or any other logically satisfying middle. and like the analogy of Past. opposite the Tao Te Ching which plugs this at length). as any remark of a Zen Master (if he condescends to stoop any form). or both. There is the middle of the Middle Way and only there. then bang their heads together. above all pairs. also an there is just nothing there You will agree that if anything ! is good there must be evil. accepting. Present and Future. like the black and white symbols (I call them tadpoles) in the circle of the famous Chinese sign. but it is them some way towards the experience of a condition which is not this nor that but both/neither. and made up of half-truths of the opposites. One way is by seeing the kernel of the opposite in its opposite. This is not the true Middle Way. male or female. Realise that all we say and do is wrong. I can only say (see that I am tall and middle-aged and English by virtue of the fact true its is true also. relaxed. Remember that the Way is a Middle Way. that lies between all of them We live and have our and when we wish to seek the Truth we must first bring those opposites ! as near as possible. in deafening noise hear the then do silence.THE APPROACH TO ZEN LETTER 79 Dear Silver. and at the same time. just as neither side exists. narrow as a razor's edge. gentle. And now I must seek to tread it in coping with a lady who is not sure if she would like to marry me. And I have being partial. and partly because there is often as much no other way. where in the 'eye' of each is a dot of the opposite. will at least lift . partly because it is an exceedingly compressed and striking way of stating the truth. in blinding light see darkness. Surely you are not still troubled with paradox? All great Teachers have had to use it. so is the to the level of 'sense' in illusion is middle.

e. to make it true. i. or of "Emptiness". he says. also on the Void or Sunyata which is full of everything. Buddhists call this suchness'. and then.ZEN COMES WEST to be strong/tender. and more an increasing awareness of the indivisible Reality which we have been insult by attempting to chop it into pieces. As concepts tend to dissolve. and includes at once a dozen themes or truths. all at the same time. and to be less sharp in outline. even in thought. all his And It is almost the ultimate synthesis we've got to get there. And some people say life is dull! Yours middling. 'In this self-identity there are no contradictions whatever. and also not-A. 3 for there being no true 'distinction between these themes. in self-identity there is just one subject to be identified only. Buddhist philosophy. so full that it is No-thing. meditating together in Class on the 'Strength of no Desire' and 'Non-attachment' also on the shift of centre. he says. But this self-identity he says 'is the logic of pure experience. patient/fierce. LETTER 80 Dear Clarence. confined. who are we to attempt to divide them? Perhaps the unifying theme of these is Dr Suzuki's 'self-identification'. Christian and Buddhist at p. which I have been studying again in his Mysticism. We nearer No-Self. (while working out a talk for tonight and a speech for the defence tomorrow). and the Zen logic of No-logic in which A is A. every thing. psychiatrical/human. is more embracing. In this brief paragraph is as much as the great man of us! has said in several books writing. Or would it be better to say that as thought rises in quality it is less defined. You are right that we are getting into very deep waters of thought as we approach. call them what you will. so the awareness or understanding. being more synthetic in the true sense of the term. Sunyata'. and this. that which must lie beyond it. thus coming back to his graphic description to us of why God created the universe. for ! . which is to be distinguished from mere identity. 30. is the philosophy of self-identity. For in the latter there are two things to be identified. In such meditation it becomes more difficult to keep any subsequent talk in bounds. from self to something . 'identifies itself by going out of itself'. that is.

so long as they are useful at all. Then chew 169 . Meanwhile we are all God/animals. but to see them as they are? You're a clever girl. as in 'the unimpeded interdiffusion of all particulars' (immortal phrase!) or Jijimuge.e. talking and discussion. in reading. is Reality attained and its awareness transmitted. As you read of the doornob . i. Now that you can see (more) straight I would suggest you choose those books which feed the intuition rather than the intellect. with their qualities of change or flux. we should be 'there'. of personality. Read with new eyes. it is easier when one has learned at least in part to withdraw one's projections. The rest is silence. and a finger pointing the Way. . so that one sees objectively and not through a cloud of liking. with no 'soul'. Words are indeed useless at that level. blend and blur. but I am convinced that they must be used. which 'make the bell ring*. and something shining through. wanting. There is time. for who is my friend John. To see the nob-ness and the appleness of the apple. To see things as they are is difficult enough. I differently /one wish I could. directly. to see them not only one with other things but as those other things. and afterwards. then. True. seeing the experience which made the writer say what he did. with a smile. quickly you can get through a good deal. to abandon them. and somehow inseparable from suffering yet in their suchness one with all other things. Only in meditation. words fail world fades slowly from the consciousness. or Joan or what have you? One can see 'levels' in them as in oneself. approval or disapproval and so on. and because we will not sufficiently admit the animal it is that much harder to find the God. can you? Clever girl. disliking. a sigh or the holding up of a flower. Yet people are more difficult. You talked before you went off about your reading.THE APPROACH TO ZEN all kind. So at last you can see straight? That's a nice bit of conceit! I am convinced that if we could really see straight. but you may have reached the stage when too much intellectual stuff will cloud rather than clarify your mind. deeper individuality. see things as they are. . Thus concepts. thoughts of as the noise of the unreal LETTER 8l Dear Bungy. Yours with a sigh. and to see them as You can do all this.

Of less 'Scriptural authority' I would add: Epictetus. Sinnett which. So you are depressed with Mu. I have read very carefully five times. unless you are one of the curious few who. and i I used to say (in the twenties) that the lot could be bought for a if want I would choose note. the fourth Gospel. then. I remember when I first came across the Voice of the Silence> maybe in the edition to which the late Panchen Lama wrote the Foreword. by being more you will do more and more rightly. B. yell. as they come to mind. the Sutra ofHui-neng. It is still not far from true. I was crushed. and why this one. HuangPo. Tou like it?' he said. then the Gita and the Tao Te Ching. The Void is a Plenum if nothing is true then ! 170 . and all the other Noes if there are any. the eternal and uncompromising No. H. Eckhart. and raving about it to an older student.ZEN COMES WEST and absorb and become that wisdom. in preparing the third edition. the Diamond Sutra.. But why try a koan at all. So. Suzuki's Introduction to Zen Buddhism and (all but enough for me) the Mahatma Letters to A. though it is most frequently given to beginners? I will make a suggestion. value the words the less. Shout to the world that that which is utterly empty is utterly full. with all the strength of your lungs and will and the whole cosmic grandeur of you. P. if you promise not to sneak about me to a Master. How many lives will it be before we can speak from such a level of supernal wisdom? But in a way even these are not books to be 'read'. each the distilled essence of the teaching of great minds. the Dhammapada and the Heart-Sutra. yell to the whole of all Creation YES Be blowed to the dialectical Nagarjuna with his eight Noes. Try the opposite. for the journey? May I lend you a little light reading LETTER 82 Dear Mary. you me to name a dozen the Voice of the Silence. Take a deep breath. Off you go and enjoy yourself. having heard vague reports of slanderous attacks on the translator. I have long said that a sufficient library for a desert island could be 'put in a man's two pockets'. with land intent. P. stand upon a mountain-top and then. 'I have only known it fourteen years but I agree that the first page which is and digest as far as I have got is great indeed'.

over long periods of time. is I know that things work well. 'I know that the enterprise is worthy. to break Why a koan means through the barrier of thought to No-thought with thought alone. In return You are part of me. Only in the moment of complete exhaustion comes the moment of complete surrender. ever-becoming glory which no-one created but which all enjoy. with perhaps a hidden crack in it. and it is part of all or all is Creation. You know it. You must exhaust the thought-machine as a horse that founders when it is galloped until it falls. as does a psychiatrist. and what will you find? That 'God's in his heaven all's right with the world'! Or. then. to achieve the impossible. hate you. Everything is. abuse me if you will. as I love and hate those facets of myself I learned to behold These are selves and Selves but all one SELF. for you insult yourself thereby. with all you see my insufficiencies. The answer Yes. yes. and it is at that moment that one sees'. Yours ultimately LETTER 83 From Notes to the Class Before we part for the long vacation I have three things I would like to say. or good or bad or large small or splendid or very grubby indeed. do we all behave as if we didn't? Use me. Love me or hate me or both at once. but don't lean on me. The first concerns myself. Such pressure deliberately worked up in a mind not quite balanced. or the parish priest. Bear in mind always that I teach nothing. so called because he has been * trained to teach. The Truth is within and no man can do more for another than to help him to find it. in the greater words of Thoreau. that ever-living. It is. I love you. I know don't I give you koans for meditation? Because to 'solve' that you concentrate with every ounce of your will. it. every thing. To some extent I hold up a mirror to your individual minds. Yell YES until there is nothing left to yell. yourself. to help 171 . I have heard no bad news'. is extremely dangerous. In it I see myself in you reflected. affirmatively. has any right to take that responsibility.THE APPROACH TO ZEN true. objectively. and the greatest Master would say the same. then. ever-growing. Only a Master. am exasperated by you. Some of you are leaning on me too much. why. deplore you.

'the latchet of whose shoes I am unworthy to unloose'. and until some genuine Teacher arrives in our midst. So I gave it up and thought no more about it. I could not. and that is two things (at least) and every spiritual experience right lines the results will concerned with causes and never with effects. And when experience comes it is well to remember the test by which to know if it is genuine. Thirdly. and this is the the 'new' reason. to attempt to describe what I do not know? Could I tell you the subtle distinctions between Samadhi and Dhyana. I spent a night in a Zen monastery. There is work and enough in hand for years to come. for that 'moment'. I noticed. between Dhyana and Prajna. first principles. T stared at objects and tried to see them in "suchness". we should be are working what right have I on come. that the wheels of a cart go round. About us lies the infinity of Here and Now. and if I could I should only be using words to describe what to you would remain as words. As one of you wrote to me. I prefer to plough safe. as experience shall determine. I will tell you why. and not of some state of trance in which to wallow in the comfort of serenity.' Is this not worth all definitions and distinctions? Years ago in Japan. I repeat. had not 'seen* before. of I. and the nature of Nirvana? No. If we T has this in common. Should we try for Everest before we are trained for the foothills? Yes. I am not stopping you. and ever to hand is This. No experience is valid which still includes an I. you say? Then go ahead. largely in meditation. I speak of Zen experience.ZEN COMES WEST work up that pressure and to sustain it to the end. You 172 . You are right. The result was a psychic "cross-eye" and puzzled frustration. for where there is I there is that which perceives. With these we are and sow with simple. the man who describes an experience in which 'I* something or other. Secondly. the job in hand. And the third matter is the Goal of our endeavours. Then one day I was idly looking at the young moon when suddenly I heard myself saying: "The moon is the moon". making great advances. In any event. As I left in the morning in a car with as I some of my young hosts we passed a cart. is lying. good or bad. and I do not talk of it. In Satori there is no I. that it is the end. I doubt if most of us are ready for that effort. Don't then. I think West must find a technique of its own. between Prajna and Satori. let us waste time with definitions of the indefinable. First.

THE APPROACH TO ZEN must forgive me. 173 . It IS. Peace be with you. Since then I have not cared for the distinctions in the aspects of the Supreme.

.

Part Three EXPERIMENTS IN ZEN .

.

if you wish. the unpolished and unedited expression of inner processes and direct experience which will help to decide the future of the Zen move- ment 1 . or inner group which meets at odd times just for meditation. and how fiercely are you seeking it? Add. 3. as distinct from any other school? What do you mean by the Zen which you are seeking. the results of your search so far. much of it in the answers to the third of three questions I put to members of the Zen Class. but I have found the contents so profoundly interesting that. suitability of Japanese Zen technique If not thought entirely suitable. Needless to say. M 177 . to be answered not too briefly and in writing. without breaking any confidence. For this is the raw material of Western Zen. I want your See page 126. The in Europe. a written paper was not the sole means of judgment but it is the only one of which anything may be published. Why have you chosen Zen Buddhism for your study. I have thought it right to publish certain extracts and conclusions without delay. was to make the members think clearly about their attitude to Zen and thus to learn much about themselves. three questions were: 2. The purpose of the questions. written papers were for my eye alone. 1 I want your views on the to Zen in the West. the Zen Class (closed for each Session) and the Circle.CHAPTER VIII EXPERIMENT IN ZEN My article in the February issue on 'Zen Conies West' 1 has produced considerable comment. and secondly to help me to place them for the coming session in the Beginners' Class. Even the first.

rules. New Thought. spoken and written down hardens and tainted. frustration. but for many Buddhism was a relief from dogma. even Catholicism. 'While Theravada is a cut and dried scientific and intellectual study of Buddhism. different. All our upbringing with its conventions. but most of the twenty sets^of answers so far results The were immensely that a spiritual yeast is working in the mind of the student. Existentialism. But why Zen Buddhism? Because the Theravada was not enough. But the yeast is working. Zen is refreshingly revolutionary approach. and out of it for better or worse. beliefs and dual thinking'. I have used the point being made. and the profundity of opinion and experience was not commensurate with the time already spent on the study of Zen. things. utter despair. of illumination. being too limited. practising and teaching in the absence of a qualified teacher. They cut across all differences of sex. Yoga. Comparative Religion. exemplifying the human mind. I say all English. After analysing all things until is nothing left. all had been tried and found wanting. different 1 italics to stress Why Zen Buddhism Many students have travelled i. And another: 'Any teaching that is becomes more and more developed. the school of English Zen. even as we in the West may produce a form or vehicle of Zeri very from that of the Japanese. with results. rules. ritual and reliance on some Saviour. pleasant or unpleasant. Christian mysticism. The questions being interrelated the answers are often so blended that they overlap. } a long way before they arrived at Buddhism. Psychology. The reasons were as varied as the substitutes rejected. in its We must drop all this. beliefs and dual thinking is only there to stimulate the ego. Theosophy. for other European races may take to it differently.ZEN COMES WEST views on the best Zen in London way of approaching. convictions. otherwise the intellectual barrenness of Theravada would lead to loss of balance'. All italics are mine. age and education. By the mere observance of such . profound joy or merely a growing sense received show of the oneness of will come. Spiritualism. and by means of our very conventions. it is essential to transmute that bleak nothing- ness into something alive. extremely virile and often once again the two main types of quite contradictory. And another: 'Zen follows on as there the next step after Theravada.

methods presented only to be cast aside. Zen says 'Don't accept. I found it and fell in head first. and all else partial.EXPERIMENT IN ZEN teaching one can never reach. and his phrase opens up new vistas of comparison with newfound Western psychology. Its exclusion of formalism. reason is first bored with its own rationality! 179 . It invades and changes everyday life. 'Why should I seek that intellect or to anyone which I have? I can say with honesty that Zen pursues me all through the day and even when I neglect to be "mindful" my changing NEW one has to meet thoughts wander to the Class. but somehow allowing for the reasonableness of the absurd How fascinating is that moment when 9 . And again. And this writer speaks later of 'the energy which is ever beating at the final concept'. then start from the beginning'. when achieved it is it. but not disrupting the whole. It seemed easier like that. don't believe. As a Many way it is the path to this unity. 'I did not choose Zen. Break away from all you have ever known. and so on'. 'I didn't choose it. to individuals on the same quest. And a third. But many reply with vehemence that they didn't choose Zen. This writer develops this theme later unconditioned vulnerability*. 'Zen inthis life teaching. to a Zen book. it has the wonderfully cleansing effect of a violent thunderstorm. And again. Here seem to be rules made to be broken. 'My previous studies and experience have taught me that to meet the everit on its own terms with a fresh. The oneness of the Buddha was the is life of his one with its wholeness'. satori. its new. : don't submit. It does not command. not more comprehensible. Zen chose them. reward of punish. a perpetual echo of the theme of the Hound of Heaven. Zen does not stand apart looking at it. and they could not escape if they would. Zen goes beyond the conceptual teaching of Buddhism to the very ground and meaning of the Buddha himself. simple and direct method forces the mind to be at work continuously. It does not moralise. giving each single moment its significance. or treating aspects of it. tear it to pieces. and Zen contacts and corporates life as a whole. A thirsty man doesn't choose water he drinks it! Without any need of thinking there comes a response from within which knows after its own fashion beyond any need to justify itself to the else'. not understanding a word but having all my views turned upside down. stress this fact that Zen is whole. It needs no intermediaries.

If not used it can Another expands be a hindrance. but I'm trying to use it. We can imagine that we understand it. 'Sometimes one feels as if Zen is an extension of of experience.' writes another. I can't say I'm fiercely seeking it. but I'm trying to use it . It brings into unity the whole of life as lived from hour to hour. Another writes. It must be used and not sought. Every other school of Buddhism is full of woe. and the swollen ego deflates . a technique by which a man reaches unity by bringing it to life. I haven't got it. It must be used. together with the experience and the moment. It leads to purposelessness. paradox. 'By Zen I mean the intuitive insight into real living as distinct from mere existence. Apply it and use it. many stress the the words were largely superfluous.. which shows remarkable virility once to its humour. 'It is a means. But having said this they deliver themselves of a wide variety of scintillating epigram. It is direct. 'The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao'. then life would be bathed in flame of sunrise'.. "Zen is the experiencing of the moment without thought". a spade to till the earth. and that is true. this. 'is living . as we commonly do in the West'. Many refer at essential ingredient in its oneself waiting to be used. a brush to paint with. quotation and 'illumined confusion'. yet Zen is founded on the same teachings and still comes up smiling'. and produce a persistent and tenacious superiority. fearless 180 . If one could live each moment. What is Zen* Most writers point out that it is impossible to answer this question.ZEN COMES WEST importance of the teacher and of ample opportunity of access to him. that transmission is direct from a Master. if only one could catch up with if. It didn't matter that I was unable to remember much of his lecture afterwards. Nevertheless in flowing with Zen as it flows I am living life as op- posed to thinking about 'Zen. 'When Dr Suzuki came I understood directly with the heart as well as with the mind Finally. if I may coin the phrase. There had been a transmission of the Dharma to an infinitesimal degree and I was grateful for the experience'. . T might write. Others develop this theme. but even as I write Zen has gone. As one writes.' This is pure Taoism and equally good Zen. but that a lesser teacher can stimulate the pupil to find Zen for himself within. for in use the user and . the instrument are one. spontaneous. 'Laughter is an method of work.

but that set by the East. but one coins an excellent phrase. 'The simple. the art of living. and will begin by writing music in the manner of the masters. 'Not in the sense of something coming to an end'. one writes. . It has nothing to teach Many speak of the Void. from which we descend to the practical politics ' .' breadth. As in every art the student must learn techniques and disciplines. A late letter commenting on my 'Zen for the West' in the February issue speaks for many. The writer will read all he can. and his first attempts will be modelled on work that has stood the test of time only when he has mastered certain techniques and learned the rules. 'A softening up of my own self-importance a sense of inner space'.EXPERIMENT IN ZEN living in which one is freed from the tension of "What ought I to do or . there was a middle view about using Japanese technique. . no-damn-nonsense Zen carries its own conviction which brooks no dispute'. Whilst Samsara and Nirvana are one they are completely distinct. he must find a form to canalise his inspiration. a bird flying through space which has neither length. with no loose ends or ragged makes everything tion is its is edges but complete in itself as a ball is complete'. height or depth. . giving more matters and people. The most common descripcompleteness. 'I suggest that though Zen is not an art in itself it embraces the greatest art of all. 'but in the way that all things are balanced. writes one. 'In of the performance of an ordinary task which ordinarily I might chafe but which is now the only possible thing I could be doing. can he . and unless he is a genius. Some deal separately with the results of Zen. 'Zen is that which to be"? It is else seem empty'. Thus the musician will listen to music of other times and places. Generally speaking. he must at first borrow forms until he can devise his own. and we must learn pattern 181 . 'Zen helps enormously in practical common see the sense in handling mundane life. the feeling that any situation is "just so". comes an awareness of its momentary "rightness'V Some results are at surprising. honest. So with Zen. and I meaning of "Render unto Caesar" So much for Zen. . But the final word typical of its writer. of diversity of view that it is difficult fairly to summarise. Zen for the West Here there was so much afford to break those rules here we have no and formulate his own.

and be perpetually new. but if new words. 'The freshness of any discovery. no right and wrong. But several agree that this is a dangerous business.COMES it WSt and practice it with diligence. until such time as a creative artist appears in this art so strange to us. Some say it is the life of Rinzai Zen. of words or action. On the use of the koan there is much debate. Zen class unless he has belonged to the Society for at least a year. new phraseology is demanded. Whether we use the fierceness of Rinzai Zen or the passivity of Soto Zen. In the West we live amid discriminations. Several stress that. others that it is folly to attempt it in the absence of a Master. thinks this writer. and formulates a technique more akin to our way of life. attending other lectures or meetings. But we must be intellectual before we can pass beyond the intellect. to solve It is here that the authority vital. and the ability to make a wise choice must be developed before the student can be safely told that there is no problem. We must avoid. Be patient. One points out that daily life is full of koans and we have them anyway. more week-end retreats. 'we are brought up in a climate of thought so from that of the East that we are totally unprepared for its anarchism unless we have first made acquaintance with the Dharma student. the stereotyped formula. which no doubt equally leads to the Goal. say many. It cannot be forced if Zen is here. and that spontaneity is all. as I believe. desperate confusions and the like are inevitable. He must learn discrimination in the Buddhist sense before he is told to reject it. with less book-learning and more 'mindfulness'. deeper implications and discovery follow as the thing is viewed anew'.' But the process is . All agree on the need for more and more meditation. and many agree that for we need more silence. is a matter of 182 . strength beforehand it long as the audience have built . and accessibility of the teacher are He mind-made and can be destroyed by different can help the student to understand that these things are the mind which made them'. Shock tactics are splendid so up some orthodox individual. phrase or word becomes stale with repetition. we must learn to think before we achieve No-thought. 'should be accepted in a proper'. the art-form will arise naturally in the fullness of time. my masters'. for whatever the methods used each in the end must 'go it alone'. or can prove that he has No acquired a good grounding in Buddhism. . 'Passionate conflicts.

we at least. are fiercely. writes. But advice or rebuke. in its own time and own way. One typical of others. of course. And this for me can only be achieved by the shock-treatment of Zen the direct approach'. Others entirely disagree. to give up*. . This it appears to be doing ' . We are past such folly as seeking one. . Such are a the Society. and perhaps one of our wisest members may have the last word. There will be scum to remove. Whether we reach any Goal is beside the point. 'It would be better for Zen in the West to work out its own technique. 'We come to realise that the only thing to do is let go. no tricks allowed. No short cuts are attempted. The answer. 183 . but this is the spirit moving. We need patience. Zennishly alive. off. mightily. It steam to in its let few spoonfuls from the cauldron of the Zen Class of is bubbling mightily. is a middle way. 'We don't want additional knowledge we want to "undress" until there is nothing left but the Buddha-nature. while awaiting further assistance. they say.EXPERIMENT IN ZEN opinion in which the writers inevitably divide out into the complementary types of mind. not violence.

even Buddh-ism. and all 'isms. with no apologies the group to similar experiments in the field of psychology. as the previous article only reported about half the answers to the of a first question paper. The keynote is still the intense virility of with the authority of scriptures and well-worn personal experience. 'Only by dying to myself in the moment. But the suffering will be felt. the task of being alive to live. f The 184 secret lies 'in accepting life as is presents Again. and as the remainder were if anything let me have space the Editor to higher standard still. and even to the desire to die. in mightily. left behind. I warned the phrases. can Zen be revealed. so thick and fast that I was glad that the sufferers were duly warned. to words. dukkha on the the end of self. There is indeed a need. (suffering). produces its own fresh crop of emotional and even physical planes. I have asked for further comment. which appeared in the May issue. as one writer puts it. It has now consideration of individual problems. As the same writer elsewhere says. Meanwhile. and the problem and the solution the same'. thought. is life itself. whatever the grade. 'to grade the Class and Circle and Group in respect of the teaching given and the exercises demanded with some kind of appraisal of psychological until maturity'. And the troubles came. old and occult law by which any deliberate. planned class of the and sustained effort to take the 'shadow' self in hand and to expand consciousness ahead of the average of one's friends and associates. mental. Only then is the actor and the action one.CHAPTER IX FURTHER EXPERIMENT IN ZEN In 'Experiment in Zen*. For the material of the it Zen search itself'. To con- . I said that the cauldron of the Zen Class of the Society was bubbling bubbled over into a further experiment.

Besides. it is not to be found anywhere. at all. Or. Religious activity . 'We must beware of adding another technique to our and choose between the technique and Zen. at the supreme The word religion means a rebinding is activity . 'When illumination comes it illumines all of us'. though hampered by the need of translation expert in what he said. showed us the well-known in the world of Zen. *I regard Zen as the religion to abolish all religion. As a woman writer shrewdly points out. and without humility and poverty one gets nowhere template the futility oneself from . these later writers emphasise the need of understanding Zen as it is before seeking to reclothe it. . and psychologists walking would heartily agree. now a well-known writer and speaker in Zen Buddhism. and the suffering of it all.' and we cannot leave the part of ourselves we loathe and despise at the foot of the hill while the 'better Self climbs to the top. Meanwhile.' says another. 'Because man strives to be whole he is not. the walk is with the whole man.' 'Zen. a lay roshi and on Japanese art. agree that for a time we must have a qualified roshi to help us. one finds the way by treading it.FURTHER EXPERIMENT IN ZEN of it all. And as another points out. . as another says. . and I shall go it because I cannot go any other. and. at all necessary means. From then until June. Zen scriptures will help. we have been supplied with Zen literature for years and yet are still saying 'Give us Zen'. the Society was favoured with the successive presence of three men Dr Hisamatsu. The same life. not a state to be sought outside life. moment. Such was the position at Easter. 'is in the living of the moment. happy mind goes further. 'Zen is my way. though in the end we must produce our own. As for Zen in the West. 'the experience of Zen is within this life Zen is here. 'else we are in danger of confusing the clothes with Zen. as yet another writes. backed by an indomitable will which in the end will create and use the collection.' Most. however. I do not have a goal to which the movement of the to strive. on the plane of daily life'. which another caps magnificently with. the finger with the moon'. but comes from an unfolding centre'. . one's spiritual forces by using them. I like it. but simply enjoy walking on is joy'. showed us what a roshi can be. swallows itself. which laughs systems and teaching. Alan Watts. but Zen. 'the goal and the way cannot be different. thus severing seems to me still a form of escape'. 185 .

One must be quoted at length. Others. as one student wrote. reactions. for for it was long before I picked myself up off the floor. enlightenment. But the of members is the great discovery are. it grows them. each part being as important. feelings and personal troubles are seen as forms of limitation'. tell us when we are getting warm. and included in the total 'Self which is advancing. less fiercely direct. not search for its fruits. and how do you collate this with the effort or energy which it seems necessary to use in order to achieve any progress or 'experience*? The answers were not always given seriatim as in an examination paper. 'If the search Zen affects one's outlook vastly. or your search for Zen. perience of non-duality? 3. appar- ently impressed with the strenuous efforts of the Class to find Zen and to accept no substitutes. motives. or not important. 2. and not be regarded as a new line to follow. many direct approach to things as they 'Whatever the matter to be 186 . How do you understand the passive acceptance of all conditions and events. as each other'. and confirm our arrival. Meanwhile I gave the members a new set of questions. has spent just sixty years offering it to the West. 'Everything seems like parts of one big picture. values. it probably means that one was not really of a suitable make-up for this tree does particular path. affect your daily life feeling. and so achieve direct ex- How your thinking. admitted to exist. acts? How in meditation do you attempt to pass the pairs of opposites which are inherent in all thought. having attained his own Zen . pear Thus I do not use Zen practices to reform myself but to express myself'. A And that's that. So should one's pursuit of Zen be the result of one's attitude to life. Dr Suzuki. talk of the 'horrible little self which must be faced. has promised to persuade one or more Japanese but English-speaking roshis to spend substantial time in Europe 1 . 'the Masters can but give us encouragement. does Zen. No Master has ever claimed more than this'. and many members regarded all three as nine-pins to be knocked flat with tremendous gusto. Yet. in the near future.ZEN COMES WEST thoughts of one of the leading minds in Western Zen then came Dr Suzuki himself. a man who. For them 'Zen creates a background against which thoughts. Or to use another analogy. It is useless for a tree to desire apples.

One writes of 'the suffering of others about which I can do nothing that causes me intense anguish of spirit'.FURTHER EXPERIMENT IN ZEN approached on its own level. a greater detachment from events.' writes one who has not heard of Jungian 'withdrawal of projections' but is doing it. it is When in it. a loosening of ties.' present. new Several have found their happens happens right'. emotions and ideas may be at complete variance with one's own. tragedy has lost its value 'for what can go wrong?' Just 'allow things to happen. with an increasing respect for other people. the Zen Buddhist observes the code of conventional morality not because he considers it to have any intrinsic value but it because the reasons which might impel the ordinary person to break do not operate in his case'. and the action gets accomplished so. And this withdrawal produces a greater independence of external factors. One rises to the situation. 'How absurd it is to drag the past into the me joy.' thus on the right lines what will its owner not youth accomplish in age? 'We must learn to live in the present/ says another. Life is truly one. so beautifully alive'. 'while I think and therefore worry less'. 'but there must be "more looking". lives is writes another. Another could one way to the mighty saying. with eager friendliness in its own right and carried through with the fullest accepted attention and devotion one can give. dichotomy of like and dislike. 'unaffected by the fact that their acts. Zen says get out of the way. 'Other people are taken more for what they are than what I want them to be. With all this new awareness comes a new understanding of compassion. which is to many of us an utterly idea.' 'I live more intensely.' Applying the same discovery another says. 'My search for Zen has chiefly brought writes another.' For this member. done. which is coupled. and the effort one has to make is just to get out of the way'. and this is sharply distinguished from the pleasures of the senses. 'All that member by loosening the hold of the . as the necessary fruits of the oneness of life. 'I have at long last really seen the point of depending only on oneself the wonderful release in abandoning all hope. And the 'looking' or objective examination of all things and events may be and should be carried out. the 'spontaneous knowledge of a (suffering). dynamic livingness'. the writer finds.' assimilates it. not with a weary eye on dukkha but with joie de vivre. 'As I see it. 'detachment as distinct from indifference'.

and magic things stir in the dark waters preparatory to rising to the surface. Prajna can cease from such reaction. from the concept of that in which they are subsumed and merged in one (while remaining two). for it develops the power to withdraw projections. to or regarding or steady looking at things. must simply let one of a host of concepts. on which Jung lays so much stress. that is. 'I do not regard the pairs of opposites as parallel lines which can never meet. It operates 'by relieving are free to pay attention to the task We 188 . Therefore I attempt to lose all sense of "regarding"/ With some writers I should be tempted to consider this I think. and restores the integrity of the 'whole man' who must use the 'one-moment' of timelessness for every act.ZEN COMES WEST help her. One describes it as in the field of psychology. and this is common ground many schools of Buddhism. the truth of this operate'. genuine experience. slick intellectuality. One just sits and watches. ensouled with imagina- But and must this is itself of the intellect and the heart still suffers. the experience of 'non-duality has nothing to do with thinking. because it is impossible to "regard" anything in a non-dualistic manner. Regret for the past and anxiety effort about the future are alike thought-forms. may be said the mind in Only it For asking question 2. and the Bodhisattva heart does not choose to do so. What forms they will take I do not know. 'I start with an attempt to drop "self". it is. Were I to reject the opposites I should simply create a new pair. duality versus non-duality. Here. So to achieve the experience of non-duality I must cease to concern myself with it as such. Many others speak of the watching. I was rebuked by the same writer who dealt so pungently with question i. but they live and have strong powers of movement and vitality/ This increasingly objective attitude to mental happenings is all to the good. with his analysis of which can with tion. suffer until of each burning human tear 'thyself hast wiped it from the sufferer's eye'. all sense of suffering into concepts be discarded. as though released. I realise that in passing beyond them I bring them with me in another form. but they are not "thoughts"/ But as another points out. *I have become aware of this search (for Zen) as if it were a dance between the inner and outer life. and we triangle. Some tackle the opposites from the top. and then try to concentrate on the theme from the top of the Then other "thoughts" come through.

Gradually I was aware of an all pervading calm. This created an acute tension. As any thought came to me I pushed it into the unconscious and left the whole lot to simmer. About passivity in action or effort-less energy the battle raged merrily. but what I know I do not know'. the necessity of effort! Perhaps acceptance comes first. God. one puts it. Then one afternoon in Kensington Gardens I gave up. by quoting an experience which calls for on the opposites without knowing it by following the instructions in The Cloud of Unknowing.FURTHER EXPERIMENT IN ZEN in front of us. I said one short word. I know that I know. I felt I was too evil to recogStill the Hound pursued.' but the throwing off but I faith in the effort. and the Hound no longer pursued me. have learned the wisdom of inner acceptance through my law of Karma. 'If I wish to drop a particular habit I must just drop it it is is a form of as . muttering to myself "Nirvana and Samsara.' And another: 'the passive acceptance of all conditions and events is absolutely necessary for they are our karmic balance carried forward from our previous births'. are . Then I came home to Zen. and we must accept. 'Sustained effort is needed to break through the layers with which we have surrounded Reality. I meditated on the opposites. and I could not distinguish between God and the Devil. they are one". and this energy is in no way affected by acceptance of present conditions. and the tension nise goodness grew. 'I never have willingly lain down under adversity. At last I was at peace. started .' Another puts this negatively. This produced an awful despair. of experience). completely exhausted. . I sat looking at the flowers. non-stop.' Walking is walking and eating is eating (Thus famous Zen phrases reborn in Western minds in the crucible . Effort is truly necessary. but I sometimes find acceptance itself to be a form of action. I went round with a certainty that I was going mad. Then one day it all boiled over and took possession of me. of circumstances outside and also within the mind. 23 hours a day. I will close this section 'I no comment. 189 . 'Passivity in my case means throwing off compulsions and inhibitions. My (very Western) instinct is to take immediate action. . and repeated it until my mind was saying it in rhythm with my breathing. Some find the effort to accept considerable. Most were agreed on the necessity of cultivating acceptance. pouring in. Many invoked the law of karma. .

resolutions and moralising. . in that point-instant of the moment change it. .' Another gets nearer still. so far from being pursued by the Hound of Heaven are in full cry after the Hound and yelping with happy excitement. dynamism. but I think he would smile. and one's action is but the which the situation is dealt with . . . a method which resembles one's attempt to get rid of a So the writers get closer and closer sticky piece of paper to the resolution of the tension. the filing pushes to reach the Absolute. they are resting and may renew the battle later. without excusing it or trying to . One sees the pair as pull and push. from some 30 Some are finding the pace too hot for them. . to . 'The strength of no desire'. effort unimpeded continuity with collected . But others. 'Passive acceptance is only a fact when I stand face to face with a fact accepting it for what it is.' But attachment only dissipates energy (I think of Suzuki's I don't see the problem here. .ZEN COMES WEST useless with self-reproaches. and the smile would be full of Zen.) Yet another is perhaps nearer still. 'The Absolute pulls the relative particle as a magnet an iron filing.get involved ' . It is what The clarity of perception which enables one to face a fact or it is situation with all one's attention manifests one's ' or energy. energy can't operate without . What a Master would think of it all I know not. 190 . These are but sayings and thoughts papers averaging 300 words. You see a problem only if you think a conscious object to strive towards. .

Karma and Compassion If so. and remain entire'. Harmony? show me that you is 'Every-day mind in the dust-bin'. What is your understanding? The third question. true to you? Show me. The first two questions were I. and produced the II. but 3. Compassion has been called 'the Law of Laws. 2. seldom by that 'steady progress' beloved by Chairmen of City Companies. and breaches of the law produce effects on the breaker. the relation between divers well-known and much quoted sayings. compassion for all forms of life and their suffering? : life is very Tao (or Zen)\ Interpreted superficially dangerous half-truth deeply understood it might become the foundation of Western Zen.CHAPTER X THIRD EXPERIMENT IN ZEN Nature proceeds by jumps and pauses. was not. perhaps. Karma has been called the law of harmony. finest fire-works display of intuitive flashes yet achieved. 'Usual this is a . The results were fascinating. and the answers to the third set of questions were in the main uninspired. 'It's here. How true is it to you? life is very Tao'. What is the relation between your present inner self-development and the awakening of Bodhi-citta. A fourth set of questions covered the ground of the above two but went deeper. The questions were: 1. which shows it is old indeed. This is a quotation in the Tao . are truly aspects of one law of 'see'. perhaps one of the oldest truths in the hearts of men. happily conceived for arousing the intuition and will here be ignored. All true. Zen 7 'Usual how Te 191 . 'Be humble Ching. eternal Harmony Can you 'see* that 7 .

with circumstance. Harmony.ZEN] COMES WEST The Class has now reached the stage when individual develop- ment. Everybody and everything influences every other thing and every other body. Compassion the outcome of this knowledge . with life. These concepts.' And again. the ceiling with intuitive awareness. One. possibly. most of them remarkably tolerant. the extraverted. in a deep sense. in a body of thirty London citizens may well be an epitome of the city. the natural mystic. But in each member the distinctions between hit and miss. the philosophic-ritualist. of each others' profoundly different line of approach to the same Reality. others complain at the end of two that they are still 'simmering' and the answer has not yet 'come through'. as it were. of the country and. wrote a sudden postcard in the middle of the morning's household chores: 'What waste of time Our distress it sweating away to close the gap that isn't there! comes from trying to pull the One apart and make it two. and then in a dozen lines for question z hits. and is in turn influenced by them. Types have become clear-cut. 'The universe is one and indivisible. and the great variety of roads along which it is achieved. self-analysing psychologist and a dozen more. 'field* and method of approach which. produce a complexity of level'. One writes 1200 words on the first question. There is no separate self. producing a first-class article on the subject. were found so interlinked that it was evidence of an incipient and growing awareness of their basic unity. and It will won't budge. Most took as their basic concept. . of the Western mind. Hence the law of Harmony governs it. after a class at which we had discussed the "closing of the gap' between Nirvana and Samsara. 'Life is stark . are equally apparent. i of the fourth set on compassion. is Cosmic energy is not divided into individual persons. But all have a deeper sense of integration. months for example. harmony and karma. and No. A polar bear coughs at the North Pole and the sands of the Sahara stir. often seen by the writer. 192 . with each other and all that lives. the Taoist gardener. i of the third set of questions on compassion. and the deep religious and spiritual realities they symbolise. No wonder we get a bit tired!' be convenient to consider together No. The speed of reaction is so different as to be embarrassing. the intuitiveintellectual. Some of the best Answers come through the post in a few days . but heavily intellectual.

. It is breath-taking. . stop becoming objective in our attitude to . the disturbance. Only a sense of we are off-balance. conscious desire to bless anyone anywhere. Viewing one man's life. . for Harmony undivided and The awareness of Karma shows the sense of T which divides is it is . 'is the constant. prevents us having a natural.THIRD EXPERIMENT IN ZEN real. even with the best motives. 'The deepening understanding of the oneness of life produces an equally growing compassion for all forms of life. 'When we are out of step with the oneness. 'I see both Karma and Compassion as the 'skilful means' of one law of Harmony.' 'Compassion* writes another. it causes results. becoming manifest in space-time. where is the border?* unceasing 'changing. or pay the price for not so doing. is closely interwoven that no distinction an inside-outside relationship. .' Here enters self. I watch and react and become vitally alive and so possible. as the Law is only felt in dualism.' To see dually. and the 'whole-making' effect. as they touch our consciousness. myself. But I must have experienced it Then the stone is my brother then is my compassion a reflex action at one with life. else we are merely pushed about by the Law. life. two brooms both sweeping N 193 . If it is selfmotivated. spontaneous compassion for other people/ And again. 'We become aware of Karmic laws only when we T can interfere with Harmony.' Another writes. In this I fulfil my own law of Harmony. . Only and has the warmth of it.' 'The laws of Karma are our teachers if we can recognize Compassion at work beneath them. We are unaware of Compassion. merging.' Another takes it up. All is and change and flow . can restore. spontaneously arising. altering. hence Karma. all equally part of my 'set-up' and in daily life one sets off every moment a new chain-reaction. when we are aware of it it is not compassion. before we can cure it. There must be a known break before a making whole. Karma is required to restore the balance. several conclude. his Karma gives it homogeneity. inside-outside. this From forms it into a living whole so that his past lives on with him.' But we must be aware of the break. its innermost dying. Thus myriads of potentials of karma stream out from one in all directions to embrace the whole universe. 'To rise one must start at the bottom. being born and each ephemeral object's karma is its potential. 'It is our own sick-mindedness that . is due to the Karma created by disturbance of the Harmony which only Compassion.

with self-ful actions breaking that Harmony. Several imdescribe exists ported suffering as the factor common to these concepts. Rider & Co.' Hence the truly compassionate act is spontaneous. Ogata. 108. Tt is not that Karma and we fit into it. natural to the as separate entities The ideal. writes one. 'After years of wringing my heart with rejected but by being lived with. by living 'as if the flame were already awake. 'Nansen was asked by Jyoshu. p. it is the self that causes all the trouble. a paradox live with that to drop the self one must first experience examine it. So 'the debate continues' about a general concept of the Universe as in Harmony. Compassion is seen which makes one where the disturbance of the and oneness had made two. thinks another. the healing or 'whole-ing' equilibrium power to offset the destructive force of our folly. 'Only the acceptance of one's own suffering leads to a willingness to share in the suffering of others'. For it. For as another wrote.' That is well said. The danger referred to in the original question is very real. as the healing force the Class turned to the more extravert conception of 'usual life' or 'everyday mind' as 'Tao' or 'Zen'.' to act naturally. 'What it.' Thus is cannot be aroused deliberately though we can and if. mind that has ceased and knows them as now One. to the debit of the one who broke it. fear and the like it is dissolve not by being Karuna born. "Should we try See Zen for the West. It should act 'as But because a 'Compassion can only manifest itself unselfconsciously. It is far too easy to assume that 'ordinary life' lived in the full measure of habitual fatuity will in some way one day produce enlightenment. lest we imagine a law-giver.. "What is Tao?" Nansen answered. 194 . a compassionate man would be in a sense unaware that it had arisen in him. This was far from the purpose of the creator of the original phrase. In the igth item in the Mumonkwan 1 we 1 read. but Karma is the word we use to our actions and reactions. "Ordinary mind is Tao".' But here comes a gentle reproof for talking about 'laws'.ZEN COMES WEST the path that leads to Harmony. and another may mean the same thing when he asks that we spare a little time to be sorry for ourselves. sympathy for is others' suffering I realise that this is no true comto see people passion but a form of self-indulgence. Adds another. From struggling in the coils of these tremendous principles a. without thought before or recollection afterwards. these feelings of pride.

many agree.' The point. Let daily life just be. For Zen is freedom. find several. The the whole of the moment up (What a phrase Is this an echo of Kipling's "If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run . and a willingness to accept the now whether nice or nasty. 'It be? 'Life in the thinking. This is when the struggle is given up. 'what other mind have I but my everyday mind?' Zen is whole. If we run to the farthest ends of the world we cannot escape from ordinary life. sewing on a button or trying on a crown. 'All this implies struggle.' As to what mind to use. and until this happens there can be no enlightenment. during or after the act. writes another. do every little thing whole-heartedly and relinquish it without regret when done. and as a member put it.' To needed.' The violent effort to see in the ash-tray the whole universe is waste of time. but so long as there is a seer and a seen. all. 'This and here and now is the field of experience. and the truly 'usual' life is lived in non-duality. no speculating before. but this struggle is quite useless and leads nowhere. 'not living for the special occasions and disregarding what goes between. ! No all the time we should be enlightened.' But Zen. can live the purposeless life of Zen which. or seeing them as the mind- born children of illusion. was the master's reply. 'relax into life as it comes'. . is equally content with a dust-bin or a symphony.?). as most writers discovered. Yet without it the next stage would never happen. everything.' The trouble as ever is the it self. is in Suzuki's words.' But need Tao-way is pure action within the "moment". 'But living in the now is an impossibility without giving up the desire for past and future. "As soon as you try you miss it". . seeing no distinctions. live in the moment is the secret. 'There is nothing infinite apart from finite things'. 'so obvious that how can I show you understanding? my Can one is describe the taste of water?' What is 'an unusual way of living usual life.THIRD EXPERIMENT IN ZEN to get it?" asked Jyoshu. made free by Prajna. 'Only a hypocrite has a Sunday mind. and thus only the free man. says one. on the right path? I doing the right thing? Zen is con- Am I9S .. there are two things. humility and daily work. Where else can we go for Enlightenment?' Therefore.' All this is obvious. 'releases the energy Am I once wasted in dealing with the confusion of the relative world. asks one. in what one finds as in what one rejects of pain. If we could live act fills . says another. simply cannot bear to be left out of anything.. It is there.

look And thus divided. yet there is only one pilgrim and he must become the 196 . they confuse me. and reduced it to a trite admonition against personal conceit. a express herself in verse : new member preferred to As I I make my every day. 'This is directly the heart of the matter but it must not be separated from the head. places. . A few got near to the heart of the tremendous statement 'remain'. When And 3. I smile. When one listens to it one cannot hear it. else he remains one of the herd and so on. 'When one looks at it one cannot see it. . But when one uses . Label them good or bad.' 'It is when we "drop it" that we know Zen is unknowable.ZEN COMES WEST fident and free from anxiety. itself one of the greatest Scriptures in the world. as another put it. by grasping the word and some of these appreciated that 'it is a state of mind conditioned by the heart. fascinated humble and you will remain entire. Some even objected to the word humility as 'Be smacking of humiliation. But when as an arrow Loosed by It I touch the Centreless Centre. upon people.' Or. indescribable. high or low. for in Zen there cannot be two ways. it it is inexhaustible/ Applying this. Mine and thine.' I have long been by the fact that this phrase was thought so great that it is actually quoted in the Tao TB Ching.' Thus the Tao Te Ching has the last word. things. Where to put a dustbin Or yet a diamond Or even me? After that. The individual must assert himself at times. Many members in my view missed the grandeur entirely. a mudbank or a star I see. in usual life. but it works. let it be. The pilgrims walk on this or other paths.

'You are the froth and the foam on the waves of the sea.' But self has many meanings. This goes on whether one names it or not. nearer the mark still. Yet another is. but to search in one's own cupboard for the widow's mite. to persuade one of the wisdom of remaining entire. In meditation I have begun the other end. 'and not cut off the bit of us we don't like. "To live life humbly is not to make ordinary not to reproach it. for loss and gain are of no account to it. Humility knows no fear. expanding. wholeness.' To the answers to this question I would add one word of my own. and never ceases to be. I think. Humility is a by-product of Selfknowledge.' which reminds me of my favourite saying of a pupil long ago. 'is greater than his power to humble himself. for it is in the littlest act of the daily round. put it. Entirety does not come after being humble. with the word entire. we This wisdom remain entire. Here is the primordial Absolute. non-self-assertion. One cannot decide to be humble. in I trust that I which 197 . 'Before we can become extra- we must learn to become extra ordinary!' The facet of acceptance was much to the fore. moment and make the relaxing.THIRD EXPERIMENT IN ZEN Path to tread it. At least it is a record of experience. unity. 'The clue is in the word remain.' But we must remain entire.' We must be content to be nothing as such. to ask no more than the present brings. As another dissolve into the wave. we call humbleness. and I will end with the words of one of the students on this theme.' The secret is to remain in this entirety. one's 'original Face before one was born'. Experience is an individual matter. Karma steps in to regulate the return to Harmony. he remains simple arid unconfused. 'The entirety of being humble is the absence of concern over an "I" . This should never be lost. By it So much for a brief review of the answers to these two sets of have not lost the light of intuition which made so many of them so worth while. The humble man neither gives nor takes hostages in a war with fortune. 'To be humble is to remain with oneself. We must accept our Wholeness. Not to journey outwards in search of treasure. interior towards the freedom of the total sea'. wrote gesture another. 'I must step down to step up.' As another wrote. and can only be known as it becomes conscious questions. 'From birth to death all one has is one's experience. To assert self is to break this harmony. Let the froth demands of it. 'No man'.

ZEN COMES WEST of its flow. but from this side of that experience I can hear it in a half-com- prehending silence. and the attempt to hang onto the flow is where suffering arises. life arises out of the void at each "moment". 198 . But the world seen as a conglomeration of fixed entities is an illusion. and each of these gaps is the Void of eternity. for to name an experience is to give to a passing flow the semblance of fixity. or between each two "moments". To this supreme experience I have not yet come. Emptiness being form and form being emptiness.' It is in the silence that we shall know.

CHAPTER XI SURVEY AND PROPHECY The theme and Preface. It uses but few scriptures but these are so well known that the subtlest allusion to a passage in them is at once picked up. of a master or Roshi who has gained his enlightenment and been taught to help others towards the same experience of a technique of 'direct transmission* which only when the initial impulse had a little waned produced the famous koan in its fifteen hundred years of . of Non-duality. SURVEY At least the following facts have emerged. That Zen Buddhism. Now scope of this brief work were outlined in the the reader has all the material available to form a just opinion on this situation. Within this tradition and by this technique of 'wordless transmission' many have achieved their enlightenment. existed at any one time or today? second fact is that Zen Buddhism was brought to the who 199 . This tradition created and still uses its special technical terms and almost its own language. called satori> which is a timeless. history. in which a great teaching of the East awaits a Western mode of expression. achieved the 'great experience* or achieved it in a strenuous life of spiritual endeavour. and of a goal. but 'many' must be considered in the framework of fifteen centuries wherein at any one time there may have been a million men who strove for this enlightenment. has become a strongly woven tradition. and mondo system for leading beyond thinking to No-thought. And of those more than a few times how many The 2. self-less 'moment* of enlightenment. i.

which is so friendly to the gods of Western thought. Linssen and 'Wei-wu-wei* all drew from him the main source of our knowledge. and that in the end the last blade of grass will enter into Buddhahood. every writer on Zen whose works I know has admitted his debt to Dr Suzuki. and has spent the rest of his long and active life in making known to the West the doctrines. and the possibility of our experience whatever that may have been. scriptures and tradition of Zen Buddhism but in the search for Zen. But though Dr Suzuki has promised to find some Japanese Roshi to live with us in Europe and teach the few found worthy the way to Zen experience. such as it is. that men are brothers. and if ever one man gave a great tradition to the other hemisphere this is he. today or tomorrow. the principles and the active way of Zen. willing to come and to stay. or whatever be the chosen god to replace the God discarded. This interest in Zen. the very matter which is the food of science daily shrinks into mere force or motion. moving towards Mind. these new gods are changing in their form and message so profoundly and so rapidly but it of those that day by day they are moving nearer to the house of Zen. . with a good knowledge of English and Western ways. and able to find employment for his time in a community where the students will for the most part have but a small part of their lives to give to him. With two exceptions. for it lives in all of them. Yet the West is interested. while the paraphernalia of social science. perhaps the greatest living in the field of religious experience. deeply interested. of yesterday. The mind of psychology is fast expanding. myself. not only in the history. is only the practice of the principles long taught by every mystic and in every hall of Zen. by talk over the table of thinking minds. in jokes and poems and 200 . Benoit. The gap left in the minds and hearts who no longer find sufficient nourishment in the Church in which they were born is not being filled with the substitutes of science and psychology. is shown in a hundred ways by the sale of books on the subject. Alan Watts. and here is irony. it will be hard indeed to find such a master. achieved his enlightenment in 1896. Yet. These are facts. cradled in politics. must be to fill some need. that life is one. this great mind. Why? That is a question easier to ask than to answer.ZEN COMES WEST West by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. Still active in his ninetieth year.

at spiritual or material level. visited Japan and studied there. including his own body and his car. study Western modes and thought. of the one and looking for new forms has no one home. of vision yet with full attention here or there as required. asks Dr Ames. Spring. but be further taught how to teach. Professor van Meter Ames describes in remarkable detail comparisons between the Zen attitude to facts and circumstance and that of American daily life. a few with success. where it has already de- generated.SURVEY AND PROPHECY even in advertisements. advice and training towards the seen but unexperienced end? There seem to be four possible alive. 1. and quotes long passages to support and exemplify his with a wide car-driver. How to supply and satisfy this interest with effective leadership. with Japanese Roshis. The problem. He seeks to find Christian terms for Zen experience. as was to be expected. and thus become Roshis which. is a high degree indeed. and prepared to spend a large part of the day in some other employment. More could do this. Only those reasonably young would be suitable. So far we have heard up of few who would qualify. in the number of those who ask for help to pursue their studies to the end. and certainly not hundreds. And the illustration for the man of Zen than that of the fencer or the man of Judo waiting for the timeless 'moment' in which to attack? But if this is a pioneer article on the subject there will soon be more. that not only would they achieve their enlightenment. 1959. There is none yet that we know 20 1 . with ways of thought still supple. life For the Western mind is very much which. and come to the West to teach those ready to learn. expecting the unexpected and ever at one with the total situation. of life Japanese Roshis could learn English.A. But in a recent article in The Young East. answers. and still of none willing to give years to such a task. but not many more at a time. then. is clear. too obvious in the U. Some Westerners have after learning Japanese. tense yet relaxed. 2. and why not? Dr Suzuki is immensely impressed with Eckhart. is this a worse field own teaching. as shown. into a foolish and rootless cult.S. and to pay the price for learning. Or one or more Englishmen could train so far in Japan 3. The interest is less obvious on the Continent.

or for Eastern clothing for our vigorous Western minds? It may be that the problem largely turns on what we mean by salon. karmic links and fetters to be patiently worn through. We say that the Zen experience is the same wherever found. to name but one of Europe's greatest minds. In London we have a class of men and women. even the neurotic genius. and in different parts of the world. in the of things be a matter of long years. to his koan or whatever the task in hand may be. or the fares to go to Japan. Yet these are the people to whom I wrote those letters in reply to theirs. achieve the same experience. but what is large or small man of Zen? In Japan the raw material for Zen training is the young male. which must. these are the writers of the answers that I have collated briefly in my chapter on Experiments in Zen. 'Walk On!'. the intuitive-emotional. the born mystic. but after a long day's work. and shot it is break:. nature What else? are none of us willing to stand still for five 4. we shall miss the bull's eye a thousand times for every 5 we land on the target. and the best of the day gone out of them. 202 . of different race and widely different backgrounds. backed with a thousand years of the same tradition. is We or ten or fifteen years. not fresh at dawn. And many are beginning the journey with the set habits of middle-age. and well we know that 'half an inch and worlds apart. twenty-four hours a day. Is this beyond the range of previous Western mystical experience? Or did Eckhart. The heavy intellectual. In the human mind is a spring of creative life which creates the right form for itself through the ages. the practical Martha. But is that a reason for not training the muscles which will in time draw back the bow to loose the arrow to hit the target of satori? to the The difficulties ahead are enormous. All these meet. having never learnt to vaunt his intellect beyond his intuition. a substantial journey to the Society before an evening meal. Zen Buddhism is a Japanese form or set of clothing for a spiritual experience which is not Japanese but human. that given the life-force urgent to burst its fetters they will True. we have them all and more. the goal of Zen endeavour. Are we to disband and wait for help from Japan. and giving his whole time. And one and all have other duties.ZEN COMES WEST who even in training for such a course. of all types and ages. the devoted Mary. prior responsibilities. certainly no one who knows of the Zen command.

applied to the 1. is worth collating. in the sense that it is some the experience of the Absolute. So important is this that it has been said that it is all that is needed. 'moments' which no watch can measure. Either one has satori. and to withdraw the projections by which we blame someone else. or one has merely achieved other of the hundred mystical conditions of awareness of for so long. and worth consideration. must be gradual. glimpses of the Self-lessness which is the hall-mark of success. that prevent our being what we are. in very different terms? Surely there are degrees of super-rational intuitive experience. We know that in one sense we are already in satori. The perpetual argument between the 'Gradual' and the * Sudden' schools of Chinese Zen has never impressed me as having real validity.SURVEY AND PROPHECY though expressing. moment of the day. the ground must be cleared of a large accumulation of acquired and inherited wrong belief and wrong mental habits and proclivities. To describe this course of training is beyond the scope of the present volume. the product of ignorance. for example. as Western mind. and lean on someone else. and it is only our foolish ideas. in the sense of whole and complete and. in which there is knowledge but is a long path of training in preparation for the genuine experience. or attempting to express it afterwards. whether climbing Everest or driving consciousness through thought to No-thought. right principles (a) of the history and traditions Zen Buddhism and the teaching of its basic scriptures. These at least are steps upon that way. divorced in very nature from all that went before. of and gently nurtured. (6) of 203 . in the literal sense that it proceeds by steps. to face and remove the personal God-concept and all that it implies of 'salvation by faith' alone. though the way it works should be clear to some extent from the quoted. But in the West it is necessary. in every letters already situation every 2. in the case of safari. that there way. But in the process of approach there are flashes of the Light. and even to indicate to others such a which the great minds of the world have written none to know. The approach to any achievement. then the practice of those who have attempted to find and tread. First. In the place of these wrong principles must be planted. If this be so. But the actual achievement must obviously be 'sudden'. look to someone else to save us from our sins.

This may be true.' and it is a foolish conceit to imagine that we can run before we can barely stumble. and even as in a if Zen monastery the progress of the monk is stimulated. so we in the West can help one another on a humble scale to avoid the errors of those who have gone before. 222.ZEN COMES WEST Western mystical and intuitive thought. that it may be dangerous to try for it too strenuously without that aid. III. but what is the alternative? The answer may lie in the story of the pupil 1 who sat cross-legged meditating all day long. 4. expressed in what to us is a more native idiom. Collective work gives individual encouragement for work in the days between. In the Tao Te Ching it is written. it is If it is putting it too high to say that class-work is essential. 1 it hard From Dr Suzuki's Essays in Zen Buddhism. and for a long time trained the mind into the power of concentration at will on a chosen subject. and that any achievement cannot be tested without the trained assistance of one who has not only achieved his enlightenment but been further trained to teach. tation is soon found to be necessary. and then learnt to apply that power to rising states of mystical or spiritual awareness. difficulties faced together are often solved thereby. and (c) of the nature of the intuition and its exclusive power to reveal the One beyond 'the opposites' which are the province of the intellect. 204 . Against this graded training is the suggestion that the achievement of satori is most improbable without a Roshi's aid. The practice of regular periods of concentration and medi3. found by most to be helpful. carried out as a process of deliberate study. 'What seekest thou here thus sitting cross-legged?' 'My desire is to become a Buddha. These three between them call for wide reading. p. none the less necessary because the time will come when reading can be and will be almost given up. In theory at least it is enough to dedicate each moment of the day to the higher forms of conIn practice none achieves that habit who has not first sciousness. 'Be humble and you will remain entire.' The master took up a piece of brick and began to polish on a stone nearby. at least occasionally. guided and need be checked by the Master.

am 'No trying to turn this into a mirror/ amount of polishing will make a mirror of the brick. pass through stages which we shall watch but not be able to control. hand in hand yet feet. Baso. If we need some help for cleared the ground and erected a mighty tower of strong and accurate thinking. It will become with a 205 . J when it moveth not. deeper understanding of eternal truths. All who have experiment in the last few years have changed remarkably. Whither? Would Benoit say we moved but in the circle of relativity. marching on our own two and nowhere nearer to the Real? all is Is our efforts may make us a Saint but never a Sage? our friend in France right that The answer in the experience. of inward agony. I think. have to do. and the awakening of compassion which but slept before. cross- legged or otherwise. then even at the price of danger run. and many a brief 'experience' of things no words can usefully describe. but by fierce endeavour and strong strife. my master?' asked the pupil. From this results will come. greater serenity. passing of course through periods of depression and doubt.SURVEY AND PROPHECY 'What workest thou on 'I so. Collectively yet individually. for to the jumping it we can when we have We seek with a self is to drive them further away. But they do come. but finding these well suffered as the price of wider awareness. withdrawn projections. no amount of I sitting cross-legged will make of thee a Buddha/ 'What shall 'It is like said the master. in increased intuitive development. PROPHECY Viewed from the West. we have moved upon our way. As such it will. ability to cope with situations great and small. If this be so. shall not seek for them. build our edifice of the intellect and (at least be prepared ask for to) jump. new way to it. of weeks and months of 'the dark night of the soul/ the sun new risen is abundant this made recompense. must clear the ground.' 'If so. wilt thou whip the cart or the ox? We We then shall not in the West achieve satori by sitting still. Zen is the One creative Life in a new form. then?' driving a cart.

the apotheosis of the logic of a-logic.ZEN COMES WEST better and better known. the Self and the not-Self. without exception. and. It will prove expansive of psychology and productive of a new sense of compassion. or 'Heath Robinson. As these minds will come from many fields of thought the spirit of Zen will affect them severally. For the English are in one sense strangely mystical. but it will not be that of the monasteries of Japan. and their humour is based on it. of East and West. It is the last word in spiritual 'Do it Yourself. But as it becomes more popular. psychology. But before this process is far gone there will be a reaction at top and more and more first class minds will take up its study seriously. of the one life bubbling up in our Western minds.' are to reach the further happily discarded as a raft that made but Such lavish adoption and abandonment of means must make is a useful gadget or device for me not be for you. It will appeal to the English for reasons strange to the masters present home. conversely. including one for Zen. the reign of nonsense far beyond the unkind barriers of sense. as that of religion and science. mysticism and art. scientific is and all. levels. some genuine and some the reverse. invading religion. for tolerance. philosophy. It will prove destructive of much dogma and of the limitations of purely conceptual thought. the quality will steadily deteriorate. science. and the quantity of literature increases. Moreover Zen works without its user having to know how. whether shore. will create new forms of life. for although this I realise that it This new release of life. It will prove constructive of a new harmony between the opposites. the Englishman may is tolerant of another's ways of doing things so long as he is permitted to continue with his own. What it will be we know not. It will be degraded and indeed prostituted to utterly unworthy ends. It will appear in new names. It will provide the missing quality of 'warmth' in the individual which the modern trends of thought and intensive interest and science noticeably lack. and be none the worse for the change. They love non-sense.' It uses devices as needed. of its If one book can epitomise this quality of the national mind it is Alice in Wonderland. It will produce its minor masters. Much will depend on the teachers and writers 206 .

'What is Zen?' a master replied. Where shall we get these Roshis? (But surely this is where we came in?) Asked. 'Walk On! 1 207 .SURVEY AND PROPHECY who pioneer the new way to satori.

F. South East Asia Sao Paulo: Avenida 9 de Julho ujS-Ap. 2 Mexico: Villalongin 32-10 Piso Mexico New Delhi: 13-14 Ajmeri Gate Extension.i Street Auckland: 24 Wyndham Bombay: 15 Graham Road. D. New Delhi i Singapore.C.GEORGE ALLEN & UNWIN LTD London: 40 Museum Street. W. N. 55 York Street Toronto: 91 Wellington Street West . Prinsep Street Sydney. Karachi $.S. Ballard Estate.W. Calcutta 15 Cape Town: 109 Long Street Karachi: Metherson's Estate.: Bradbury House. Wood Street. 51 & Far East: $6c. Bombay i Calcutta: 17 Chittaranjan Avenue.

.

.

.

30305 .