The Wisdom Blog: Classic & Contemporary Buddhism

Mindful Monday Morsel: No River to Cross

by Lydia Anderson
October 7, 2013
Mon, 10/07/2013 - 10:29 -- landerson

Today’s morsel comes from No River to Cross, a collection of teachings by the late Zen Master Daehaeng. In this selection, Zen Master Daehaeng writes on the link between “questioning” and “enlightenment”.



While entrusting everything to Juingong, sometimes questions will suddenly arise within you. “Why did things turn out like this?” “What’s the fundamental principle behind these things?” “How can I have sensation and perceptions if all things are truly not separate?” “Why is it said that all things are empty?” “I’m doing all kinds of things, so why is it said that Juingong is the one that is doing everything?” All kinds of questions will arise.


If you go forward while relying upon only Juingong, then questions will arise naturally. This is true questioning and great questioning. This kind of questioning arises like fresh spring water. Trying to intentionally make up questions is like rotating empty millstones—nothing is produced and you just wear yourself out. Intentionally made questions and naturally arising questions are as different as heaven and earth.


If you try to make up questions using your intellect, these won’t be true questions nor will any true answers arise. When you wholeheartedly believe in and entrust everything to your foundation, questioning bursts forth.When you let go again of even these questions, the answers will arise from within.


When questions naturally arise, if you do not know the answer, just let go of the question and go forward. Eventually the answer will come out. When you entrust questions to your foundation like this, it naturally takes care of them. Sometimes I use the word “peaceful” to describe this. But this doesn’t mean “I feel peaceful because I have let go, because deluded thoughts have been cut off.” At true self, the foundation, everything functions together without any hindrance, and is always changing and flowing, so that when something is entrusted there, an appropriate response naturally arises. This is why I use the word peaceful.


Great questioning gives birth to great enlightenment. Great questions naturally appear from inside after you can absolutely entrust all obstacles to your foundation and after true self is revealed. These questions are not intentionally made; they arise naturally. Great questioning is the best kind of questioning: it is given by true self in order to teach you. Furthermore, if you let go of even those questions and go forward, the answer will suddenly occur to you, either immediately or sometimes later when the time is right.

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