View Full Version : Words

09-14-2007, 12:55 AM
How can words possibly describe the state of just sitting? And, what use are they in doing so?

Should we not use words instead to laugh, to chat, to ask for something?

09-14-2007, 02:36 AM
Good questions, I think words will always come short.

09-14-2007, 02:39 AM
Hi Will,

Ah ... Zazen is the universe. The universe, and our experience of the universe (including of 'being the universe') via Zazen is ...

... JELLO!!!!

Jello (both the universe and our experience of it ... which, by the way, ARE ONE AND THE SAME THING!) can take almost infinite forms. But one must guide the form, help shape the form, before the jello becomes firm and set in its ways (or else, one must throw out the jello and start again).

We are born, we are taught things, our jello sets.

Our Zazen process is making a new batch of jello, one that experiences the universe (and 'is the universe') in a very different way.

In order to do that, one must discard the old bowl of jello and start a new one ... our Zen practice does so to our very 'jello-like' brains.

Then, with the help of the guiding words of writings and teachers, and our own experience, we follow a new jello recipe. The WORDS are both the recipe and 'THE MOLD' for the new batch of jello, guiding the jello into a new shape. Otherwise, the jello will be formless and not hold together, or a hard or mushy mess ... It will be useless to us in this world.

But the point is not merely to make the jello, and what is important is not the recipe for the jello, but 'to be' ... 'TO TASTE' and experience the new jello for ourselves. At that point the molding shape of words are removed, and the jello stands on its own.

So, words are necessary, but they are never the jello. An old Zen saying is that, 'Do not mistake the finger pointing at the moon shaped jello with the moon shaped jello itself'.

Anyway, that is why words are necessary ...

... but trying to say so is like nailing jello to the wall.

Gassho, Jundo

09-14-2007, 02:45 AM

... but trying to say why is like trying to nail jello to the wall.


I think I see what your trying to say. I'll have to read it a few more times.


09-14-2007, 03:22 AM
How can words possibly describe the state of just sitting? And, what use are they in doing so? Should we not use words instead to laugh, to chat, to ask for something?

Beloved Brother Will,

I also feel that words often fall short of being able to capture the expeience of being present. That often a smile or a look is better to convey it. But alas I can not do that online.

I find that more and more I turn to poetry to hint at that which can not be well expressed in prose.

Here are some poems by Hafiz:

"A Still Cup

For God to make love,
For the divine alchemy to work,
The pitcher needs a still cup.
Why ask Hafiz
To say anything more
About your most vital requirement."

"Dropping Keys

The small man
Builds cages for everyone
He knows.
While the sage,
Who has to duck his head
When the moon is low,
Keeps dropping keys all night long
For the beautiful rowdy prisoners."

and finally my favorite:

"This Talking Rag

It was all so clear
This morning.
My mind and heart had never felt
More convinced:
There is only God,
A great wild God.
But somehow
I got yanked from that
Annihilating realization
And can now appear again
As this wine-stained
Talking rag."

Namaste brother...Gassho...

Urug 8)

09-14-2007, 04:47 AM
Hi everyone:

... JELLO!!!!

F@#$ing brilliant -- "There's always room for Jell-O" as an expression of totality. Jundo, I'm so glad I joined Treeleaf, thank you for your gelatinous teaching.

"No, I'm not being sarcastic."

Don Niederfrank
09-16-2007, 01:27 AM
Thank you, Urug.
There is much in Sufi poetry that is quieting and exciting.

Which added together is...exiting? :D

09-16-2007, 12:24 PM
My view is that words are only a problem if we forget their limitations. If we see them as a tool to point our minds in the right direction, they are helpful. If we see them as expressing the complete truth of something, they are an obstacle. In other words (no pun intended), we always have to read between the lines.