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Bassui Tokushō - from 101 Zen stones

Identifier

016430

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Bassui Tokushō (抜隊 得勝?, 1327–1387) was a Rinzai Zen Master born in what is now the modern-day Kanagawa Prefecture who had trained with Sōtō, Rinzai and Ch'an masters of his time

A description of the experience

A Letter to a Dying Man

Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:

The essence of your mind is not born so it will never die.
It is not an existence, which is perishable.
It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void.
It has neither color nor form.
It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pain.

'I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself:

What is the essence of this mind?
Think only of this.
You will need no more.
Covet nothing.
Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in the pure air.'

The source of the experience

Zen Buddhism

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble