An entry from my journal: Volume 1:195

Volume 1. Writing #195

This all came to you when you were very young. You know all this already. And more. Read these if you like but drop them when you must. I too have dropped many writings. I’ve already dropped 194, 193, 192, 191, and I’ve dropped my dropping. I do not re-read what I write. I write, I say it, and I drop it. Only what I write now is important. But now keeps dying. These words keep on dying and new words are constantly being born, but they die as soon as they are born. Endless words are within you. Go to them. They are infinitely more essential than these words. Yet they are the same. But you must speak them for yourself.

November 12, 1980

2 thoughts on “An entry from my journal: Volume 1:195

  1. Ted Biringer

    Thank you for this post.

    I am grateful for your recognition concerning the teaching/experience of “dropping dropping off” integral to the process of continuous actualization. This is something that, in my view, deserves more attention (as a teaching, and in practical application) then is often given.

    While the literature of many of the great spiritual traditions warn of the stagnating effects of this tendency, modern teachers (with some exceptions) seem to give it short shrift.

    Most serious students/practitioners I have known have experienced the difficulties of “dropping dropping off” by becoming attatched to particularly ecstatic experiences and/or insights. (I was personally unable to “drop off” one experience for more than a year–thus, arresting the potential for progress and even opening the way to regress.)

    Your reminder in this post serves to illumine the teaching of the sages in all the great traditions: once students/practitioners experience the freshness of “dropping off” (and dropping dropping off) the tendency to cling to experiences gives way to the recognition of the infinite unfolding potential of realization.

    The great Chinese Ch’an (Zen) master, Joshu was asked by a monk, “What if I have realized nothing?”

    Joshu said, “Put it down.”

    The monk said, “I have nothing to put down.”

    Joshu said, “Then pick it up.”

    That is a teaching that I have discovered to be especially helpful. Another that has been personally instructive to me is the story of the 13th century Japanese Zen master, Dogen’s great realization. According to his biographers, the story goes something like this:

    A monk fell asleep in the meditation hall. Tendo Nyojo, Dogen’s teacher, shouted at the sleeping monk, “True zazen (meditation) demands that we cast off body and mind. Why are you sleeping!”

    These were the turning words that opened Dogen’s heart. He went to Tendo Nyojo’s room, burned incense and made bows. Tendo Nyojo asked, “Why are you doing this?”

    Dogen said, “Body and mind are cast off!”

    Tendo Nyojo replied, “Body and mind are cast off, cast off are Body and mind.”

    Dogen said, “Do not affirm me lightly teacher.”

    Tendo Nyojo said, “I do not”’

    Dogen said, “What is not affirmed lightly?”

    Tendo Nyojo said, “Casting off is cast off.”

    This is how Tendo Nyojo testified to Dogen’s great enlightenment, “Casting off is cast off.”

    Thanks again!


    Ted Biringer


  2. Jerry Post author

    Hi Ted,

    I love your illustrations with Zen stories. I was at your site a couple days ago checking to see how your book was doing.



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