Ultimate Truth of Zen

Once upon a time in medieval China, a monk asked his Zen Master Gensha, “When the old Masters taught the perfect Enlightenment wordlessly by gesturing with a gavel or a priest’s wand, were they expressing the ultimate truth of Zen?”

Gensha answered, “No.” “Then,” the monk continued, “what were they expressing?”

Guru Gensha raised his priest’s wand. The monk asked, “What is the ultimate truth of Zen?”

“Wait until you attain realization,” Gensha replied.


Although we are always exposed to the ultimate truth of Zen, it is hard to express it much less experience it in its subtlest of qualities.

All Teachings about wakefulness only point to the truth; but the rarely mentioned fact is that each person has to see it for himself; the path that leads to the genuine Heaven is strictly narrow. Most people, however, persistently cling to their concepts and prejudices instead of seeing things as they really are. This monk was attached to the raising of a gavel or a wand—as if this could express the ultimate truth! It is exactly the same way in which all people in the modern world fail to attain Self-Realization in their particular paths and religions because they have become too attached to the ‘methods’ that were originally taught by their respective God-heads.

Gensha tries to break the attachment by saying no. The negative answer is always a kind answer, though hard to understand. Sometimes to help someone to awaken their spiritual essence it is necessary to give answers that break their attachments. It is not untill when all mental attachments and false wisdom are destroyed that the supreme enlightenment can be acquired. Clearly, a supreme mind leads to the acquisition of supreme wisdom.

Hence the reason why the Guru insists that the seeker purify his mind first before he can understand the Ultimate Truth of Zen.

15 thoughts on “Ultimate Truth of Zen

  1. Lovely story, but is true knowledge ever a entity? I teach and love to use quotes from Shakespeare and other equals, that is forever my guide in these matters…………………
    to be intelligent is to know that you know nothing.
    Thus explaining that even a professor can learn from a student. I love those words. 🙏🏻🦋


  2. Even to know nothing is still knowing something. There is something beyond all that is being pointed at, here. For, there is that inner experience that remains above all words and intellectual abilities. And this is the beauty and uniqueness of all these phenomena.

    Liked by 1 person

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