Absurdity And The Road to Shūnyam

The Zen Master Deshan Xuanjian is remembered, among other things, for his teaching methods.

He would stride the Zendo with a big stick:

If you utter a word I give you thirty blows’, he would bellow, ‘and if you utter not a word, just the same, thirty blows!

[The original Mumonkan had sixty blows, if I recall. I’ll settle for thirty.]

Absurdity: ‘From Surdus-Deaf, Insensible, Untrue, Ridiculously inconsistent with Reason, Logically Contradictory, Foolish, Irrational, Preposterous.’

All pointers that orient in the direction of Shūnyam are unabashedly, in-your-face absurd. [But all absurd pointers don’t get you to Shūnyam].

If you want to get to Shūnyam you begin by cultivating a high-tolerance for all things foolish, an appreciation for sheer nonsense, an acquired facility with the flagrantly Absurd.

‘Wake up and realize you were never asleep’ suggests the Sūtra. If you think you have newly woken up, by that very fact, you are still asleep’.

‘Things are not as they seem; nor are they otherwise’, say’s the Sūtra. This is not a clever play of words or cryptic coding of a privileged secret. It is literally true.