Irmgard Schloegl

"We Live in a Dual World" (excerpt) THE WISDOM OF THE ZEN MASTERS - by Irmgard Schloegl

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We live in a dual world of night and day, of darkness and light, of joy and sorrow. We are part of this world. Both aspects are there. If we want light and joy only and reject the other half, we shall begin to feel that a vital part of life is missing. But since only a masochist enjoys suffering, it is a razor-edge line on which to hold the balance.

Perhaps it is possible for each of us when we go into ourselves to see that there is a dividing line between the bitter resentment of selfishness, the ‘why must it happen to me?’, and the grief and sorrow that is part and parcel of our human condition. The latter needs to be accepted and lived; all life needs to be lived. We live it in any case; but how we live it is important. If we reject what is common to all, go through it with averted eyes, and refuse our share of common sorrow though we all expect if not demand our share of common joy, then the unlived, refused life piles up against us as fear, including the fear of death…

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"Zen Masters" (excerpt) THE WISDOM OF THE ZEN MASTERS — Irmgard Schloegl

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When the succession after the Fifth Patriarch was under consideration, his main disciple Jinshu was generally expected to be the heir. To present his insight, he composed a verse:

The body is the Tree of Awakening,
The heart is a bright mirror;
Carefully wipe it always So that no dust can settle.

Eno (Hui Neng), who in fact became the Sixth Patriarch, countered with another verse:

There is no Tree of Awakening;
The bright mirror has no stand;
When all is emptiness Where can dust settle?

The teaching analogies of the Zen school are finely balanced, and these two verses reflect each other like two mirrors. They make a point that is as important now as it was then: one cannot have the one without the other; the chicken comes out of the egg; without the egg, no chicken.

Many of the Zen Masters are claimed as fathers or founders of special teaching lines, stressing a particular way or style. Their teachings and biographies were written…

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"What, then, is the Tao, the Way that is its own goal?" (excerpt) THE WISDOM OF THE ZEN MASTERS by Irmgard Schloegl

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What, then, is the Tao, the Way that is its own goal? A ‘true man of the Way’ is another way of describing the ‘man who has nothing further to seek’, the ‘independent man of the Way’ who leans on nothing and who has the ‘single eye’ or has come to see clearly.

The classic Taoist text is the
Tao Te Ching, ‘The Way and its Virtue’ also translated as ‘The Way and its Power’. It is a short text, and perhaps no other of comparative length has been translated so often and so variously…

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