Monday, September 5, 2011

Montreal Zen Master Albert Low on the koan 'MU'

"Mu* is not a recent experiment that someone is trying out. It is not a shot in the dark in the hope or expectation that something might come of it. It is not simply for beginners or advanced people. for iron ladies or men of steel. Millions have worked with Mu over more than a thousand years. Chinese. Koreans. Vietnamese. Japanese. Americans. French. English men and women. artists. professors. businessmen. farmers. homemakers. emperors. soldiers. airmen. monks. nuns. All have swallowed the red hot iron ball of Mu. have perished in the Great Death while rejoicing in the Awakened life. Some have flung themselves into the furnace of Mu: some have impaled themselves on the point of Mu: some have drilled through emptiness and despair with Mu: some have dropped into the chasm of Mu. But all have found Mu to be home. to be that which they had sought since time began. but that which is more close than one's own skin. Some have gnawed at Mu like a rat that sharpens its teeth while gnawing through the wood of the vat to the butter beyond. Some have sat like a cat outside a mouse hole. to all appearances asleep. relaxed. indifferent. but all the while like a steel trap sprung open and ready to shut at the mere appearance of a whisker. Some have wooed. embraced. loved. and adored Mu. like a lover yearning and yearning and yearning. Some have held on to Mu like a lion at the neck of its prey. like a bulldog with jaws bred to clamp. to hold. never to yield. Some have penetrated Mu like a thread penetrates the eye of a needle so small that the point of a needle could never find it. Some have found Mu in the midst of pain in the legs made a burning fire of agony by an accident. and some have found it in the despair of forgetfulness when everything is finally lost in a samadhi of no hope and no tomorrow. But all have worked steadily, consistently. All followed finally what their teacher had been saying patiently, insistently. repeatedly. There is just Mu! Only Mu! Become One with Mu!"...Albert Low in The Iron Cow of Zen, pg. 162-163.  *Mu is a Japanese translation of the Chinese huatou Wu

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