With Zen, it is easy to take on many ‘views of Zen’ and think to yourself, “This is Zen” up to the point when that view reveals itself to ‘yet be another delusion’, then you are off to the next view of Zen! Hahaha…
One day Zen Master Rinzai (Ch. Lin-chi) said, “There is a true man of no rank in the mass of naked flesh , who goes in and out from your facial features. Those who have not yet testified, look, look!”
A monk came forward and said, “Who is this true man of no rank?”
Master Rinzai came down from his seat, grabbed the monk by the throat and said, “Speak! Speak!”
The monk hesitated.
Master Rinzai let go and said, “What a worthless shit-stick this true man of no rank is!”
Having had a stroke a while back, I was robbed of my speech for a while. It was amazing for me to realize how much of my own Identity, the view of myself, I carry with my ability to speak as well as to hear myself speak. The old saying “Like to hear oneself talk” speaks to the self-absorbed and self-important in one’s speech, without having much or any regard for those to whom one is talking.
I was also robbed of using my right hand as well, so my writing and typing became greatly diminished – thus my ability to become self-indulgent, in pleasing and entertaining myself was also taken.
Though others may panic at such a plight, I was actually fascinated by this. For how easy it was to flow into ones own speech and writings in creating this ‘View of oneself’ that can be eradicated in a moment! HA!
You see, this mortal body, this shit-stick, is just liken to an instrument that is played by ones’ very essence (spirit/soul). When one cast the body aside, one sees how worthless it is without the essence that animates it!
As for that essence inside each of us? What is that, and where was it before this body was born, and where does it go after this body is cast aside? That is the mystery for you to discover and reveal to yourself.
This is The path of Zen. All the Zen masters of old speak to this mystery, all of them implore you to give up your views, your ranks, your positions, and your own thoughts – to ‘Take the backward Step’ and see the instrument upon you call ‘yourself’ and to if for 10th of a second to see the mystery of your own essence for yourself thus lighting the lamp (enlightenment).