Zen stands not upon words. Zen is about intuition.
I hope I can let the wisdom shine through the clumsiness of my words in this anecdote. The first time I read this anecdote, which has one of my favourite Zen quotes, my eyes were wet at the conclusion, deeply touched by the revelation.
The Master was getting old. As such, he wished to select a suitable candidate from his group of disciples to teach all he knew.
One day, he gathered his disciples and announced his planned retirement. Along with his knowledge, he would pass on his leadership of the movement to the one disciple who could best capture the meaning of Zen in words.
One of his senior disciples, who commanded the respect of his fellow disciples with his vast knowledge, wrote his grasp of Zen on a wall:
Our body is the tree of Bodhi; our mind, a reflective mirror. We must clean the mirror of our mind diligently to rid it of any dust of worldly thoughts.
That elicited praises and admiration from other disciples. Not quite, the Master thought. In fact, it wasn't close. The Master conveyed his opinion to the disciple in private.
Meanwhile, another disciple who was of lower rank learned about the proverb. On the same wall, he wrote his thought.
When the Master read the junior disciple's words, he summoned him to his room and taught him everything he knew.
On the wall, next to the first proverb, were these words:
Bodhi is no tree; the reflection, shone not from a mirror. When all is only Nothingness, upon what will the dust gather?
I recently came across zenBananas (zen stuff and stories) during my Entrecard escapade. It inspired me to share in this blog my encounters with Zen and my enlightenment from it, however dim it is from whatever that has managed to slip through the thick skull of mine.