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Thread: Words

  1. #1


    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?

  2. #2
    Good questions, I think words will always come short.

  3. #3
    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

  4. #4
    ... 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.


  5. #5
    Hi everyone:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    ... 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."

  6. #6
    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.


  7. #7


    Words have become so important yet meaningless. We fish the sea of mind, as Dogen remarks in Genjokoan. What is the sea of mind but words meaning is found elsewhere beside mind alteration, that person realizes bit by bit each molecule of matter falling into place. This the 12 steeper calls the 3rd step this in which I give myself over to a power if you like Power, that person does so to be of service. One’s words begin to reflect in the sunshine of meaning. This is poetry, this is beautiful, this is the gift of one to the other. So, I know “it’s poetry when I feel the top of my head coming off!” Emily Dickinson was right but she warns of death that it makes one safe, “Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers,” lie the meek members of the resurrection. So, it in selflessness we become whole to create to benefit others. For me, always it comes down to this. Word makes it possible to give. The gift of self is ultimate as words impart meaning. Else why would Noam Chompski speak of deep structure in language. So much depends on what? This is elision
    Or leaving out words; thus, it becomes the self give. When one teaches another about swans, one becomes more swan like or melding with the great essence of beauty, beauty of giving life to another. This cannot happen only with words, but with what is left out or Genjokoan the Japanese characters depicting both self and others. So words bring forth the ultimate paradox of reality. I know very little of Western Philosophy, or Asian religion. What I know is what Faulkner called the “old universal
    Truths of the human heart.” This I know. Ann, I know so little of Dogen. Words have reestablished the footing in reality I had as a boy. Now about Zazen which is wordless. Zazen allows me stillness for even in turbulent Zazen I must sit still even
    For a few minutes. So I have at least a little breathing room, and a little only now which is as it is. When I come back I have mind to give to another. We succeed if we only sit because it in the art of life or the imparting of words of kindness. We impart kindness and our words mean. We give of self.
    Tai Shi
    calm poetry
    sat/ lah

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 07-12-2020 at 09:00 PM.
    Peaceful Poetry, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, 台 婆

  8. #8
    Tai Shi ... you rebirthed a thread from 2007! Marvelous!

    Gassho, Jundo


  9. #9


    Jundo, is music and are poems like re setting the Jell-O with a new mold or at least a new poem or original music? Yes original creation with words or notes. Is this resetting the positive mold in a positive way?
    Tai Shi

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Peaceful Poetry, Tai Shi. Ubasoku; calm, supportive, 台 婆

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