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    Zen: The Special Transmission



    Zen: The Special Transmission


    CHAPTER 1


    Here it is...
    1 July 1980 am in Buddha Hall

    CHAO CHOU ASKED NAN CHUAN, ”WHAT IS THE TAO?”
    NAN CHUAN ANSWERED, ”THE ORDINARY MIND IS TAO.”
    CHAO CHOU THEN ASKED, ”HOW CAN ONE APPROACH IT?”
    NAN CHUAN REPLIED, ”IF YOU WANT TO APPROACH IT, YOU WILL CERTAINLY MISS IT.”
    ”IF YOU DO NOT APPROACH IT, HOW DO YOU KNOW IT IS THE TAO?”
    ”THE TAO IS NOT A MATTER OF KNOWING, NOR A MATTER OF NOT KNOWING. TO KNOW
    IS A DELUSORY WAY OF THINKING, AND NOT TO KNOW IS A MATTER OF INSENSIBILITY.
    IF ONE CAN REALIZE THE TAO UNMISTAKABLY, HIS MIND WILL BE LIKE THE GREAT SPACE
    – VAST, VOID, AND CLEAR. HOW, THEN, CAN ONE REGARD THIS AS RIGHT AND THAT AS
    WRONG?”
    UPON HEARING THIS REMARK, CHAO CHOU WAS IMMEDIATELY AWAKENED.

    We enter today into the very special world of Zen. It is very special because it is the most ordinary
    state of consciousness – that’s its specialty. The ordinary mind always wants to be extraordinary; it
    is only the extraordinary mind who relaxes into ordinariness. It is only the exceptional who is ready
    to relax and rest into the ordinary. The ordinary always feels inferior; out of that inferiority complex
    he tries to be special. The special need not make any effort to be special – he is special. There isno inferiority complex in him. He is not suffering from any emptiness. He is so full, overflowing, that
    he can be just whatsoever he is.

    The world of Zen can be called the most special and also the most ordinary. It is a paradox if you
    look from the outside; if you look from the inside there is no paradox at all. It is a very simple
    phenomenon. The rose flower, the marigold, the lotus, or just the very ordinary blade of grass, they
    are not trying to be special at all. From the blade of grass to the greatest star, they are all living in
    their suchness. There is no effort, no striving, no desire. There is no becoming. They are absolutely
    blissful in their being. Hence there is no comparison, no competitiveness. And there is no question
    of any hierarchy – who is lower and who is higher. Nobody is lower, nobody is higher. In fact, the
    person who is trying to prove himself higher is lower.

    The person who accepts whatsoever he is with joy – not with resignation, mind you, not in despair
    but in deep understanding, and is grateful for it, grateful to the existence, grateful to the whole – he
    is the highest.

    Jesus says it: Blessed are those who are the last in this world because they shall be the first in my
    kingdom of God. He was speaking a different language because he was speaking to a different kind
    of people, but the statement has the quality of Zen in it. Those who are the last... But if you are
    trying to be the last you are not the last, remember.

    That’s what Christians have been doing for hundreds of years: trying to be the last in order to be the
    first in the kingdom of God. They have missed the whole point. To be the last – not by effort, not by
    striving, but just by simple understanding that ”Whatsoever I am, I am; there is no other way for me
    to be. I cannot be anybody else, I need not be anybody else. This is how the whole wants me to be
    and I relax in it. I surrender to the will of the whole...”

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