died: c. 1200
place: Japan and China
Returning to the Source: talks on Zen, ch. 1
| oshobob The Living Workshop
|Kakua was the first Japanese to
study Zen in
China, and while he was there he accepted the
When he was in China he did not travel. He lived
in a remote part of a mountain and meditated
Whenever people found him and asked him to
preach, he would say a few words and then move
to another part of the mountain where he could be
found less easily.
When Kakua returned to Japan, the emperor
heard about him and asked him to come to court
to preach Zen for the edification of himself and his
Kakua stood before the emperor in silence.
He then produced a flute from the folds of his
robes, blew one short note, bowed politely, and
No one ever knew what became of him.
The real teaching cannot be taught but still it is
called a teaching. It cannot be taught but it can be
shown, indicated. There is no way to say it
directly, but there are millions of ways to indicate it
Lao Tzu says that the truth cannot be said, and
the moment you say it you have already falsified it.
The words, the language, the mind, are utterly
incapable. It defies reason, it defies the
head-oriented personality, it defies the ego. It
cannot be manipulated. It is utterly impossible for
reason to encounter it...
Returning to the Source, ch. 1