‘Thirty Blows…’

780-865 CE

The Zen Master Deshan Xuanjian is remembered, among other things, for his teaching methods.

He would stride the Zendo with a big stick:

If you utter a word I give you thirty blows’, he would bellow, ‘and if you utter not a word, just the same, thirty blows!

[The original Mumonkan had sixty blows, if I recall. I’ll settle for thirty.]


The Eastern Christian Church insightfully saw greater danger in reassuring sensibility than in the absurd and in the cryptic.

‘Scripture shorn of antinomy’, it voiced, ‘is Scripture suspect’.

Contrary to popular belief, the Western Church held no different. The difference is more in the speed of memory-loss.


And as for the newest of Religions, ‘Science’:

‘No, no, you are not thinking, you are just being logical’ famously quipped Neils Bohr [Nobel, Physics, 1922], a founder of Modern Physics, ‘How wonderful that we have [finally] met with a paradox. Now we have some [real] hope of making progress.’

Or as Wolfgang Pauli put it: ‘Anyone who is not shocked by Quantum Theory has not understood it’

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