Smashing Mu to Smithereens

Smashing Mu to Smithereens

Today I'll share another important passage about the one Zen way and the keyword that Chinul, the great Korean Master included in his Excerpts on Zen Practice, one of four core texts in the Korean Sŏn (Zen) monastic curriculum.

The phrase "smashing mu..." also comes up in Going Through the Mystery's One Hundred Questions, 25, Yuantong asked: “How many years did it take Zhaozhou to make a seven-pound robe? The return smashes mu to bits as well.”

This passage, though, is from Robert E. Buswell, Jr.'s translation, Numinous Awareness is Never Dark, p. 242 (modified slightly):

Dahui also said,

"If you want to understand the principle of the shortcut, you must take up this one thought [of the keyword mu] and suddenly smash it to smithereens; then and only then will you comprehend birth and death.

"This is called the access to awakening. But you absolutely must not retain any thought that waits for that breakthrough to occur. If you do retain a thought that simply waits for a breakthrough, then you will never break through for an eternity of kalpas.

"You need only lay down, all at once, the mind full of deluded thoughts and corrupted views (viparyāsa), the mind of logical discrimination, the mind that loves life and hates death, the mind of knowledge and vision, interpretation and comprehension, and the mind that rejoices in serenity and withdraws from disturbance. Only when you have laid down everything should you examine this keyword."