“Above, not a tile over his head;
Below, nowhere to stand.”
There is a stone water basin near the Zorokuan tearoom at Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto. The water basin (chōzubachi, ⼿⽔鉢) is “provided so that in the roji [露地, garden] the person [host] who calls and the person called [guest] can together wash off the stains of worldly dust.” The center of the basin which holds the water is square, and the square is surrounded by four Chinese characters to which the square lends the character-root or radical for “mouth.” The four in clockwise sequence from north to west are 吾唯⾜知 (ware tada taru shiru) or “I alone know contentment.” […]
Just now I threw away everything into West Lake.
With whom can I share this clean feeling of release?”
“Zen has nothing to teach us in the way of intellectual analysis; nor has it any set doctrines which are imposed on its followers for acceptance. In this respect Zen is quite chaotic if you choose to say so. Probably Zen followers many have sets of doctrines, but they have them on their own account, and for their own benefit; they do not owe the fact to Zen. Therefore, there are in Zen no sacred books or dogmatic tenets, nor are there any symbolic formulae through which an access might be gained into the significance of Zen. If I am asked what Zen teaches, I would answer, Zen teaches nothing. Whatever teachings there are in Zen, they come out of one’s mind. We teach ourselves; Zen merely points the way. Unless this pointing is teaching, there is certainly nothing in Zen purposely set up as its cardinal doctrines or as its fundamental philosophy.
Zen claims to be Buddhist, but all the Buddhist teachings as propounded in the sutras and sastras are treated by Zen as mere waste paper whose utility consists in wiping off the dirt of the intellect and nothing more. Do not imagine, however, that Zen is nihilism. All nihilism is self-destructive, it ends nowhere. Negativism is sound as a method, but the highest truth is an affirmation. When it is said that Zen has no philosophy, that it denies all doctrinal authority, that it casts aside all so-called sacred literature as rubbish, we must not forget that Zen is holding up in this very act of negation something quite positive and eternally affirmative.”
“If we don’t know how to stop our over-consumption, then the death of our civilization will surely come more quickly. We can slow this process by stopping and being mindful, but the only way to do this is to accept the eventual death of this civilization, just as we accept the death of our own physical form. Acceptance is made possible when we know that deep down our true nature is the nature of no-birth and no-death”
” […] the way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, whether you think it is good or bad, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude. Sometimes you will do things without much reason, like a child who draws pictures whether they are good or bad.”