The essence of Zen has been expressed in various ways. In The Diamond Sutra, we repeatedly come across the teaching that in the experience of enlightenment, there can be no "...idea of an ego entity, a personality, a being, or a separate individuality."

    In the 13th century, Meister Eckhart, clearly no stranger to this experience, wrote in terms appropriate for Christians, "God is at his greatest when I am at my least."

    Johannes Scheffler, a 17th century German priest who used the pen name of Angelus Silesius and might be considered the Ogden Nash of the Christian mystics, wrote: 

             God, whose love and joy

                are present everywhere,

             can't come to visit you

                unless you aren't there.

Angelus also wrote:

             God is a pure no-thing

                concealed in now and here:

             the less you reach for him,

                the more he will appear. 


Zen master Joshu Sasaki Roshi simply says, "NO SELF!"


 (Sheffler's poems are from The Enlightened Heart, Stephen Mitchell (Ed.), Harper & Row, 1989.)

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