The Mumonkon’s ‘Mu!’

The opening Koan from the venerated Mumonkon Collection is: ‘Joshu’s Mu!’. It is in response to the question: ‘Does a dog have Buddha-Nature?’.

Joshu’s ‘Mu!’ is a negative particle, a vociferous assertion of negation. The driving kinetic of its terse formulation is its simultaneous self-consumption. Literally, ‘Nothing’.

A fiery, full-blast Self-Negating Expression.

Again from the Mumonkan:

Daibai asked Baso: ‘What is the Buddha?’
Baso answered: ‘The mind is the Buddha.’
A monk asked Baso: ‘What is the Buddha?’
Baso replied: ‘Not mind, not Buddha.’

Bodhidharman, its First [Chinese] Patriarch defined the ends of C’han-Zen Practice as follows:

‘A special transmission outside the scriptures; no dependence on words and letters; seeing into one’s Self-Nature and the attaining of Buddha-hood.’

Do note that ‘no dependence on words and letter ‘is itself an expression in word and letter.

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