Thursday, May 11, 2006


I was doing zazen last night. I've been busy with work and sorting out the new house so Zen is taking a lower priority for a while. I haven't done much serious sitting for a couple of weeks so for the first 20 minutes or so I was pretty distracted.

After that I entered a state which was almost effortless. It was as if the core part of the discursive mind just turned off. Wordlessness is a better word than silence. Reality was a sort of surging 'roar'. Thoughts and words seemed utterly irrelevant to describe it, like an unknown language. It was a roar because the dominant sensation was the sounds of traffic and passersby from outside the window. Yet that roar excluded no part of the phenomenal world.

There were still thoughts going on and I was still able to detach myself from the state at times. I 'interrogated' this state with a few questions.

Q: what is this?

Q: self or no-self?

Q: 'neither this nor that'?
A: Close but no cigar. ROAAAAR!

Q: 'oneness'?

Q: 'neither one nor two'?

Q: nonduality?
A: neither yes nor no. ROAAAR!

Q: enlightenment?
A: Just this - ROOOAAAR

I felt there was nothing I could say (or even think) about it. My tongue had been cut out.


  1. extra-ROAR-dinary!

    Maybe a break from zazen is a healthy thing. Sitting back down on your cushion- all is renewed?

  2. bhava srotas

    Just need a bit more 'fine tuning'...

  3. Something to do with Yoga right? What does that mean in English?

  4. Not just Yoga - Buddhism, too. ;-))

    'Bhava srota' (SKT) literally means 'fountain of being'.

    'DivyanandI' (SKT) is literally 'divine sound'. Sometimes translated as 'sound of the universe'.

    The 'mind place' from which 'thoughts arise', before they have 'arisen'.

    Often 'sounds' like the 'roar' of a high water fall, or waves crashing.

    'Fine tuning' - the 'sound' becomes like soft murmur of peaceful brook.

  5. Bassui: "When the dragon calls, clouds appear. When the tiger roars, the wind begins to blow."

    Bassui (1327-1387)
    - "Mud And Water-A Collection of Talks by the Zen Master Bassui trans by Arthur Braverman (1989) North Point Press

  6. Thanks for all this Mary. Fine tuning huh?

    "When the dragon calls, clouds appear. When the tiger roars, the wind begins to blow."

    This metaphor is quite obscure. Tell me if I'm way off.

    The dragon is a celestial being - its call is our desire for 'heaven' - to find enlightenment in some transcendental place outside of ourselves. The dragon is far off in the hevenly realms. The clouds are obscurity, attachment, samsara, confusion. The tiger I suppose must be our own original nature and the wind that blows away the clouds must be the attainment of enlightenment.

  7. Some Tibetan Buddhists talk of the 'Lion's Roar'. I wonder if it's the same.

  8. Dragon symbolism is 'illusion'...

    At least, in Lankavatara sutra...

    Thus, have I heard...

  9. Interesting. I'm reminded of this:

    If you understand that zazen is the great gate of the law, you will be like the dragon piercing the water or the tiger re-entering the deep forest.


  10. Ahh, the blessed roar :)
    Much yummyness.
    Isn't practice just mindblowing sometimes?

  11. gaelin!

    Long time no blog. But I see you're back online. Nice to speak once more.