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July 22, 2010


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Thank you! Very intense and focused way of bringing the Buddha's teaching into the Zen context. I read the Buddha's verse once through, then your commentary, then went back to it and reflected for a second - and then got a chill.

That chill, with the help of your commentary, was a small crack. Let's see how long it takes the mind to fill it in! (Guess - it already has!)


I think this is part of where "faith" plays a large part of practice. Something between existence and non-existence is so alien that we have to take this on faith until we really experience it for our selves.

Shiju Ben Howard

Thanks for this post, Barry.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that in Theravadan literature, the term Middle Way refers to a midpoint between asceticism and indulgence in sensual pleasures. In the Mahayana literature, the term is interpreted in the way you describe. Could there be room for both interpretations? The first points us toward a balanced, temperate life, the second toward the cultivation of "don't know mind" and a deepening awareness of sunyata.


Barry Briggs

Thanks, everyone, for commenting.

Kusa, it is a "chilling" passage, isn't it?

Adam, I think you're absolutely correct about the importance of faith, although we probably need to have "sighted" faith, rather than "blind" faith.

Hi Ben. This passage comes from the Samyutta Nikaya, one of the core collections of the Pali Canon. This passage comes in a context in which the Buddha is explaining dependent origination. Here's the link:

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