Reality has no form

teisho 1316 (2013)

Reality has no form. This is what we cannot grasp with the reasoning, discriminating, intellectual mind. It has no form, and yet it appears. Everything is the appearance of that which has no form.

A non Buddhist once addressed the honored one: ” I do not ask for words, nor do I ask for no words.”  The world honored one just sat. This just sitting has been described as walking along the edge of a sword and running over the sharp ridges of an iceberg.

This koan appears in both the Mumonkan, no.32, and the Hekiganroku, no.65. It is a very important koan because it goes to the heart of the matter. It has no form and yet it appears.  Reality has no form. We cannot grasp this with the reasoning, discriminating, intellectual mind.  How does it appear? It appears as a chair, as a room, as the voice of a child crying. It appears as the myriad thoughts that cross your mind.  It is constantly appearing and we take it all for granted.  It responds spontaneously, there is no interval between looking and seeing. There is no interval between a sound and hearing it.   It is this spontaneity, this no gap, which is its hall-mark. It arises in emptiness.  This emptiness is not an absence. You need take no steps. Just let go your hold on the cliff

It is interesting that the non Buddhist does not actually ask a question. And it was in response to this no question that Buddha just sat. This ‘just sitting’ has to do with the delicacy of awareness that can appreciate silence – that is what the koan is about. This delicacy of awareness is a feather touch, you cannot put any weight on it, you cannot grasp it, or use any kind of heavy-handed approach. It is like walking along the edge of a sword.  There is nothing to do.  Just let go.

Buddha just sat.  But Buddha just sat for all sentient beings, not just for the non Buddhist, not for one particular occasion.

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1 Response to Reality has no form

  1. Marie Lloyd says:

    These posts – they’re like a fresh wind coming from nowhere. Thank you so much.

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