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)