Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ummon Makes A Cow Sound

The Reading:

One day Ummon asked, "How can we make our religion proper?" Answering himself, he said, "Moo!"
Zen and Zen Classics, Volume Two, Chapter Fifteen
R.H. Blyth


When I survey the literature about Zen on the bookshelves of local stores, when I read about Zen on websites, I am reminded that book publishers want serious books about Zen. The Western Mind, and the Western Dollar, want serious teaching about Zen. People want their questions to be taken seriously, they want the respect of seriousness. They want respect, but they do not have Zen. Ummon had Zen, he grasped it firmly with both hands, yet he asked himself questions and answered himself with a cow's mooing.

We cannot be serious about Zen while taking these things seriously.

If you open a Zen center and do not claim to have Zen, no one will come. If you claim to have Zen, then when people come, no one will find it. The thing to do is offer them peace, then they feel they have been taken seriously and that they have got something for their trouble.

Now that's a proper religion!

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