In creative work, facing a blank page or canvas calls for patience as we attune and express ourselves—a patience much like the receptive stillness of zazen. In zazen itself, we renounce our storytelling and let contact with mind deepen. The instructions to “let thoughts go” seem to defy the impulse to create, to narrate, to write the next line. And yet, language can also reveal the universe, our home beyond words.
In this issue of Mountain Record we explore the spiritual etymology of Words and Phrases—how we use language, written and spoken—to seek and clarify our spiritual path. Close to the heart of Zen is the use of words to skillfully turn the mind and open the heart: A koan such as “Mu,” a single negation that reveals the entirety of being; the sutras; the weekly teisho given in the Monastery zendo, all use words to communicate the ineffable truth of reality.
Includes writing by the teachers of the Mountains and Rivers Order, Toni Morrison, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Uchiyama Roshi.
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