A glimpse of Nothingness …

A Glimpse of Nothingness: Experiences in an American Zen Community
written by Janwillem van de Wetering

JW vdwetering died on a 4th of july 2008, 6 weeks before i touched one of his books. He is the same generation as my father, and grew up only 150 kms from here.

In a glimpse of nothingness, JW describes his whereabouts in a Zen community somewhere in the US during the mid seventies. His former roommate in a Japanese monastery had taken over the torch from the former Zen Master and this one invited JW to this settlement. In simple language JW brought me a bit closer to the strange world of koans and emptiness.
Solving his koan didn’t really change JW overnight, he describes a slow process, interlaced with hours of “forced” meditation. The book reads very fast and left me with many questions, many concerning my own life and abouts.

It is a relief to hear/read that a father/husband/businessman/writer is able to considerably advance in the spiritual world. Most of us on this journey are in long term relationships and have children and normal jobs. Most of our inspiring books have been written by monks, hermits and philosophers who spend most of their lives away from the daily tredmill. But it seems that many realized people move unnoticed through the crowd, and they can be you or me, an accountant, a dockworker or … just anybody.

quote 1: “To see what isn’t true is easy. But to see what is true will take some doing.”

quote 2: “A Chinese allegory tells how a monk sets off on a long pilgrimage to find the Buddha. He spends years and years on his quest and finally he comes to the country where the Buddha lives. He crosses a river, it’s a wide river, and he looks about him while the boatman rows him across.
There is a corpse floating on the water and it’s coming closer. The monk looks. The corpse is so close he can touch it. He recognizes the corpse, it is his own.
The monk loses all self control and wails.
There he floats, dead.
Nothing remains.
Anything he has ever been, ever learned, ever owned, floats past him, still and without life, moved by the slow current of the wide river.
It is the first moment of his liberation.”

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