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Shen Tao, Zen Master Xiatang, Zen Master Foyan, illusion, wisdom, emptiness, and wonder

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




“Let me come to be like a creature without knowledge.”

Shen Tao



            To know that ignorance is the pinnacle of real wisdom is to come full-circle within the circumference of the mind; it is to be wise, foolish, oblivious, indifferent and passionate, all at the same time; it is to ‘see’ everything, and yet know nothing.

Zen Master Xiatang suggests: “Transcend all mental objects, stop all rumination. Don't let either good or bad thoughts enter your thinking, forget all about Buddhism and things of the world. Let go of body and mind, like letting go over a cliff. Be like space, not producing subjective thoughts...or any signs of discrimination.”

When we come to that open spaciousness of authentic wonder we must accept it and not allow ourselves to make the mistake of seeking again to find an answer, or a solution to the perplexity, for we must always remember that to formulate any certainty about the mystery which we are, or about why it is unknowable, or the meaning of its meaninglessness, is to return to the forum of the obsolete mind, and to confuse sublime, lucid non-understanding, with vulgar, distorted misunderstanding.

            Zen Master Foyan admonished: “Some senior Zen students say they don’t rationalize at all, don’t calculate and compare at all, don’t cling to sound and form, don’t rest on defilement and purity. They say the sacred and the profane, delusion and enlightenment, are a single clear emptiness. They say there are no such things in the midst of the great light. They are veiled by the light of wisdom, fixated on wisdom. They are incurable.”

We must recognize that illusion is wholly illusionary; what is absolutely incomprehensible must be left absolutely untouched by the mind, or we may fall into the mistake of believing we ‘see’ the illusion clearly, and therefore fall further into the mistake that we ‘know’ that it is an illusion, and why it is such, and how it is going to change, though we really know nothing of it whatsoever.

This is such a difficult threshold to cross that the greatest spirits have never claimed to understand what others claim to understand, and, in fact, they have claimed the exact opposite- they have gone deeper and deeper into complete, humble acceptance of their unknowing.


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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