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Seng T'san, Hui Neng, Zen koans, Buddhism, the Buddha, and life's inexorable mystery

excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas




“There is no need to seek Truth; only stop having views.”

Seng T'san



For the most part, however, the koan is just a trick, and any sedulous, thoroughly honest individual can see that life and its ‘purpose’ are in themselves the most baffling of riddles; that is, it is almost impossible for an individual not to come to complete, unquestioned incomprehension, by the simple recognition that the mystery of life is unsolvable, incomparable, and everywhere; that life itself is the koan of koans.

            In fact, Zen is so anti-intellectual, that, having been questioned as to why he had chosen Hui-neng to become the sixth patriarch of Zen, Hung-jen, the fifth patriarch answered: “Four hundred and ninety-nine out of my disciples understand well what Buddhism is, except Hui-neng.” Hui-neng’s ignorance was his virtue, because it was the very essential necessary for receiving the highest Buddhist insight. And Hui-neng himself, when asked how he had come to succeed the fifth patriarch, answered: “Because I do not understand Buddhism.”

            A similar case showing the astonishing requirement necessary for succession along the Buddhist lineage occurred at the very outset of Buddhism when, during his famous Flower Sermon, the Buddha sought to find a successor for his teachings and so had gathered all of his disciples together in one place in order to select one. Standing in front of his entire flock the Buddha simply lifted up a flower without saying anything. Among the hundreds of monks gathered, only one smiled, and he smiled because he did not know what a flower was, and saw only the Mystery to which all mysteries belong, and so he was chosen, and the unbroken chain of ‘awakened ones’ had begun its acquisition of links.

            This feeling of unavoidable incomprehensibility, which precipitates absolute cognitive surrender of its own accord, is one of ‘throwing up your hands’ in the face of the marvelous ridiculousness of existence, and it is this feeling of flabbergastedness which we must keep always within ourselves, about everything we are, everything we see, and everything we do. To perpetually retain that “don’t-know mind”, is to dwell in the magical reverie of unknowing, and be liberated from the unmagical mind.


excerpted from:


way of wonder, sacred geometry, sri yantra



THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer














Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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