Advertising Zen

“A Zen Master was asked whether Zen should not be propagated to some extent in our times which are in such need of its qualities.  Would not more availability, some publicity, public sermons and the like be more useful?  His answer was both characteristic and a fundamental summing up.  He replied that, after careful pondering, he could not see any positive harm resulting from such propagation.  As to the good it would do, he was extremely doubtful.  For even if it did not go in by one ear and out by the other, even if it produced a sizable uplift, by the time the person had gone home and sat down to the family dinner, it would all be gone.  The real propagation, he thought, would be for the would-be propagators to settle themselves down and cleanse their own heart yet again.  For in doing so there springs up in the human hear such a deep fountain of love that it cannot possibly be contained in one’s own hear, but needs some flow.  And since everybody, even the worst criminal, has that same human heard which is directly touched by such love, words are really not necessary.  There is a coming into ambience, a touch, a link, and the person so touched may of his own volitions start walking the Way.”

The excerpt above is from The Wisdom of the Zen Masters by Irmgard Schloeal, a Rinzai nun who lived in England (1921-2007).   The book was published in 1976, New Directions Paperback (Quote from Pg 19).

It would be preferable to have a specific reference, but Schloeal does not identify the Zen Teacher, and after 30 years, it has not been traced.  Yet the view is helpful since it runs counter to many activities of organizations. It provides an opportunity to refresh our own perspective.


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