Nondual Zen Resource:

Satsang Koans and Pointers

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Satsang Koans and Pointers

All of the following have been chosen or by me or manifested through me and used for direct pointing as the lead off speaker in my teacher Fred Davis' weekly Satsangs.


The Consumate Sound


"The consummate sound may not be struck, but it is ever resounding.

"The complete & ultimate sound is not struck, but is ever resounding."

“Consummate sound” (圓音 ): According to Chengguan, “The one sound that contains all sounds is called the consummate sound. The fact that all these sounds are the one sound is also called the one sound, and the unimpededness between one and many [sounds] is given the comprehensive designation ‘consummate sound.’” This consummate sound refers to the voice of the Buddha, which in a single sound or word can express all sounds. Like the dharma-rain simile in the Saddharmapundarīkasūtra, the one sound of the Buddha in the Avatamsakasūtra pervades all the dharmadhātu and is heard and reacted to differently by all sentient beings according to their capacities. Nevertheless, even though these beings might think that one sound is many different sounds, it is the same everywhere; it is only the discriminative minds of sentient beings that cause it to be heard differently.

Chinul Treatise on the Complete and Sudden Attainment of Buddhahood


The Waves Still Surge


“Although through sudden awakening, one is the same as the buddhas, the proclivities that have been built up over many lives are deep-rooted. The wind ceases, but the waves still surge;"

Chinul Encouragement to Practice

Nevertheless, although you must cultivate further, you have already awakened suddenly to the fact that deluded thoughts are originally void and the mind-nature is originally pure. Thus you eradicate evil, but you eradicate it without actually eradicating anything; you cultivate the wholesome, but you cultivate it without actually cultivating anything. This is true cultivation and true eradication.

Chinul Encouragement to Practice


It is not with the Tongue that We Speak


Master Gettan asked a monk, “Keichū made a hundred carts. If he took off both wheels and removed the axle, what would he make clear about the cart?”

"With realization, all things are of one family, Without realization, everything is separate and different; Without realization, all things are of one family, With realization, everything is separate and different."

“It is not with the tongue that we speak.”

Yamada, Koun. The Gateless Gate: The Classic Book of Zen Koans Wisdom Publications.


Each Tick of the Clock


"Each tick of the clock is an inexhaustible teaching."

adapted from Kusan Sunim, Way of Korean Zen, page 125

"Everyone has a native homeland. Have you reached it yet?
If not, the world will appear to you as a road which never ends."

Kusan Sunim, Way of Korean Zen, page 138


Look! Look!


"Look! Look! Who is this master that is seeing and hearing right now?”

"If you want to comprehend this essence, you should know that the voices of frogs and worms, the sound of wind and raindrops, all speak the wonderful language of the Dharma, and that birds in flight, swimming fish, floating clouds, and flowing streams all turn the Dharma wheel."

Tokusho, Bassui. Mud and Water: The Collected Teachings of Zen Master Bassui Wisdom Publications

Universe in my Tea Caddy


"I'm not Buddhist or Taoist not a Confucianist either I'm a brownfaced whitehaired hard up old man. People think I just prowl the streets peddling tea, I've got the whole universe in this tea caddy of mine.”

Baisao, The Old Tea Seller: Life and Zen Poetry in 18th Century Kyoto

"Look! Here's the cosmos on the tip of my finger."

CSW April2, 2019

If anyone ever learned anything from a koan, it was by accident.

CSW April 2 2019


Those That See


Those that see,

"Through all the creatures of the two worlds, and through all the people, they perceive God, and there is no accusation to be made of their perception."

Sufi Abu Said ibn Abi'l-Khayr

Nansen said, “Mind is not Buddha; knowing is not the Way.”

The Gateless Gate, case 34

Goso said, “If you meet a man on the path who has accomplished the Way, do not greet him with words or silence. Tell me, how will you greet him?”

The Gateless Gate, case 36

With open heart


This Mind is Buddha


"This twofold approach of sudden [awakening] and gradual [cultivation] is the track followed by thousands of sages. Hence, there were none of the sages of old who did not first have an awakening, subsequently cultivate it, and, as a result of that cultivation, finally gain realization."

Chinul, Moguja’s Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

This mind is Buddha, so

“Drawing water and carrying firewood are superpowers and sublime functions."

Pang Yun 龐蘊 quoted in Chinul, Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

“All obstacles are in fact ultimate enlightenment. Whether you remember it or have forgotten it, there is nothing that is not liberation.”

Complete Enlightenment Sutra


Can you remain Unmoving?


Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?

Ta Te Ching, Chapter 20

What can I do to wake up?

You can't wake up, but you can be willing to get out of the way of awakening arising spontaneously.

CSW 4/28/19


Mind is not Thought


If you understand mind is not thought, only then do you understand mind and mental phenomena.

Ying-an, Chan Instructions, trans Cleary, Thomas. Ying-an is 12th century Chinese Chan master

“When you call it thus, it has already changed.”

Ying-an, Chan Instructions, trans Cleary, Thomas.

You cannot find liberation separate apart from existence and nonexistence, but you cannot seek liberation in existence or nonexistence either.

adapted from Ying-an, Chan Instructions, trans Cleary, Thomas


The One that Isn't Awake


The one that isn't awake doesn't exist.

Kathleen Sutherland

‘If anyone claims there’s a dharma surpassing THIS, I say that it’s like a dream, like a phantasm.’

The Record of Linji

Look at the wooden puppets performing on the stage! Their jumps and jerks all depend upon the person behind.”

The Record of Linji