Treeleaf Zen

Treeleaf Zen

Zazen for Beginners (We’re All Beginners) XIV – Words & Letters

Zen is sometimes described as “A special transmission outside the scriptures, not relying on words or letters.”

Yet historians of Zen Buddhism almost unanimously agreethese days that the ‘Zen way’ rarely, if ever, left thewords and letters behind. In fact, throughout its history, Zen Practicehas been intertwined with Buddhist philosophy, Sutra study, andscholarship of the highest order. Yes, there were ancient monks whowould burn all their books … build a hut in the woods and leave allintellectual pursuits behind … but most would choose to writeand study  in between doing so!


(today’s video sitting below)


Perhaps we should best say that there are moments when we “burn thebooks”, moments when we grasp the moon or a flower without an added thought, and times when we build a hut on a stone cliff far removed from busy life … but other moments when we read and philosophize about the words while piercing through the words to the spaces between.
For further reading on this topic, I recommend this histrorian’s article:

(remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells;
a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended)


To subscribe to “Treeleaf Zen” click here.


Comments read comments(1)
post a comment

posted February 10, 2009 at 11:32 am

Great talk today Jundo, thank you.
And yeah, for a practice that is beyond letters and words, i sure have a lot of books to read through! Heh all back to balance, read some, sit some, walk some.
Gassho, Dirk

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Treeleaf Zen. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Zen Moments Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 9:26:10am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Joyful Mind, Motherly Mind, Great Mind ( ... and thank you to Beliefnet)
( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - XXXIII)As we close this year 2009 ... all is truly but a constant beginning, ever new ...And as we conclude our reading of the Tenzo Kyokun, there remains ongoing life and practice ...In these final ...

posted 3:12:37am Dec. 31, 2009 | read full post »

Between Heaven and Hell
(And, in case you have not heard ... after a lovely year here at, our daily "Sit-a-long with Jundo" Zazen netcasts will be moving home on January 1st to SHAMBHALA SUNSPACE, the webpage of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma ...

posted 3:45:48am Dec. 30, 2009 | read full post »

Life Is Our Temple
( Dogen's Instructions for the Cook - XXXI)Right here, right now ... this is the time and place of realization  ... awakening and making it real ...___________________________When I observedaccomplished people in the past who held the ...

posted 7:54:33am Dec. 29, 2009 | read full post »

'Mondays with TAIGU' - A New Year ... No Expectations ...
A new year ... no expectations ...(After a lovely year here at, our daily "Sit-a-long with Jundo" Zazen netcasts will be moving home on January 1st to SHAMBHALA SUNSPACE, the webpage of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma magazines, ...

posted 2:38:50am Dec. 28, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.