A special transmission outside the scriptures,
Not depending on words and letters;
Directly pointing to the mind
Seeing into one’s true nature and attaining Buddhahood.
As Buddha tells Subuti in The Diamond Sutra, “And how should they explain it [sutras]? By not explaining. Thus is it called ‘explaining.’” This, “it is, it isn’t, it is and it isn’t, and that’s why it is” stuff is enough to make the brain spin and come disconnected.
At first, all the contradictions really bummed me out. “Why can’t these guys just say what they mean???” Fast forward four years; I’m in a Rohatsu Sesshin (hard core silent retreat) and it occurs to me that as I’m hearing so many bizarre things is that, “If you say the same things a thousand different ways, you’re more likely to touch the heart of someone.” Some people relate to talk of cosmic energy. Some people regard that as hogwash. Some people relate to talk of the heart, the gut, intuition, the soul, the store consciousness, and so on. All these things hover around the same thing. Words, they are so imperfect. My teacher told me very early on, “Just be.” I must admit, at the time, I thought that was somewhat useless advice. Over the years, I’ve come to understand these two simple words in so many different ways. I keep coming back to these two words with deeper and deeper understanding. But were someone to just sit me down and explain it to me logically, it would have fallen on deaf ears. Not that I was unwilling to listen. Words just don’t work very well. As I read more and more, I sense a recurring underlying theme. This I pay attention to.