PZI Teacher Archives

Ordinary Mind Is the Way (GG19)


Zhaozhou asked Nanquan, “What is the Way (the Dao)?”
Nanquan said, “Ordinary mind is the Way.”
Zhaozhou asked, “Should I turn myself toward it or not?”
Nanquan said, “If you try to turn yourself toward it, you turn away from it.”
Zhaozhou asked, “How can I know the Way if I don’t turn toward it?”
Nanquan said, “The Way is not about knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is blank.
If you actually reach the Way, you’ll find it as vast and boundless as space. How can you talk about this in terms of right and wrong?”
With these words, Zhaozhou had a sudden realization.

Wumen’s Verse

Spring comes with its flowers, autumn with the moon,
summer with breezes, winter with snow.
When useless things don’t hang in your mind,
that is your best season.

—Gateless Gate Case 19, with Verse