Nanquan’s “Dharma That Has Never Been Spoken”

Nirvana asked Nanquan, “Is there any dharma that has not been spoken by the sages in the past?”

Nanquan said, “It’s not mind, it’s not Buddha, it’s not a thing.”

Nirvana said, “Have you finished speaking?”

Nanquan said, “I am like this. What about you?”

Nirvana said, “I am not a teacher. How should I know if there is a dharma that has or has not been spoken?”

Nanquan said, “I don’t understand.”

Nirvana said, “I have said enough for you.”


Student: “What did Nirvana mean?”

Master: “He said what has not been spoken by the ancient sages.”

Student: “What did he say?”

Master: “He said what can’t be done.”


The reason why you don’t know the Dharma that has not been spoken by sages in the past is that you don’t know what they said.


©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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