There are many misconceptions about the nature of the spiritual path, the role and function of spiritual masters and the need or otherwise for a connection with a spiritual tradition. In fact in our times the water is muddied even more by the proliferation of charlatans, half-baked teachers and the lack of a clarity of intention on the part of seekers. In such a situation it is always helpful to have recourse to the words of ancient masters as a kind of touchstone or compass by which we may re-orient ourselves. It is with this in mind that I present some sayings of the Zen masters who by not being “sufis” may be said to be doubly objective. Just read Sufi in place of Zen.

Uncritical Acceptance

You take the words of these ordinary Zen teachers for the real Way, supposing that Zen teachers are incomprehensible and as an ordinary person you dare not assess these old timers. You are blind if you take this view all your life, contrary to the evidence of your own two eyes.

Tourist Traps

At Zen centres they say there is a Way to be practiced and a religious truth to be realized. Tell me, what religious truth is realized , what way is practiced? In your present functioning, what do you lack? What would you fix? Young newcomers, not understanding this, immediately believe these mesmerists and let them talk about things that tie people up.

Adding Mud to Dirt

There are Zen students who are in chains when they go to a teacher, and the teacher adds another chain. the students are delighted, unable to discern one thing from another. This is called a guest looking at a guest.

Zen Master Lingi.