The Way of Zen - a Boundless Path to Everywhere

To confuse the indivisible nature of reality with the conceptual pigeonholes of language is the basic ignorance from which Zen seeks to free us. The ultimate answers to existence are not to be found in intellectual concepts and philosphies, however sophisticated, but rather in a level of direct, non-conceptual experience.

Consider each of the following in turn, absorb and fully understand each one before passing to the next. If you have trouble, go back until you understand and then go forward once again. Progress may be slow, two steps forward and one step back, but advancement will prevail.

Listen, be open, understand but do not think - we have lost the power to know when we think we know.

When I point out the moon, look at the moon, not the pointing finger.

In the absence of someone to smack the back of your head when you ask stupid questions, assume you have not understood anything and, after smacking your own head, re-read the section again with the first sentence on this page in your mind. Yup - I thought as much - you haven't fully registered what the first sentence on this page says. Off you go.....

Tibetan Buddhist tenet
The nonvoid is the reality of visible objects. The void is the birthplace of all things in the universe, which pour out of it in a boundless flux. Only the void is real, all forms in the objective world are illusory, existing merely because of the unceasing flux between the two orders, void and nonvoid. The void is subtle, indivisible and free from distinguishing characteristics. Because it is a seamless totality it cannot be described in words. Even the nonvoid cannot be described in words because it, too, is a totality in which consciousness, matter and all other things are indissoluble and whole. Despite its illusory nature the nonvoid contains an infinitely vast complex of universes yet is utterly indivisible. In a universe thus composed, everything interpenetrates, and is interpenetrated by, everything else. As with the void, so with the nonvoid - the part is the whole.

Lame Deer, Lakota Shaman and Seeker of Visions
Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist. They don't use their brains and they have forgotten the secret knowledge of their bodies, their senses, or their dreams. They don't use the knowledge the spirit has put into every one of them; they are not even aware of this, and so they stumble along blindly on the road to nowhere - a paved highway which they themselves bulldoze and make smooth so that they can get faster to the big empty hole which they'll find at the end, waiting to swallow them up. It's a quick, comfortable superhighway, but I know where it leads to. I've seen it. I've been there in my vision and it makes me shudder to think about it.

Ogotemmeli, elder of the Dogon people of the Sudan
The physical world is the product of a deeper and more fundamental level of reality and is perpetually flowing out of and then streaming back into this more primary aspect of existence.

Australian Aboriginal shaman
The true source of the mind is in the transcendental reality of the dreamtime. Normal people do not realise this and believe that their consciousness is in their bodies.

Fa-Tsang, founder of Hua-yen school of Buddhist thought, 7th century
The cosmos is implicit in each of its parts, every point in the cosmos is its centre.

Empedocles, Greek philosopher
God is a circle whose centre is everywhere, and its circumference nowhere.

Hermes Trismegistus, Egyptian prophet
The without is like the within of things, the small is like the large.

Black Elk, Oglala Sioux medicine man
Anywhere is the centre of the world.

Anaximenes of Miletus, 12th Century Sufi
Pythagoras, Heraclitus and Plato, Greek philosophers
Philo Judaeus, pre-Christian Jewish philosopher
Maimonides, mediaeval Jewish philosopher

The macrocosm is the microcosm.

Visvasara Tantra (Hindu)
What is here is elsewhere.