Buddhist Meditations
Zen and karman
Louis Nordstrom
13/07/2011 09:08 (GMT+7)
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In the Zen school great significance is attributed
to the realization of emptiness (`suunyataa) through
meditation (zazen). In this article I will discuss
the relationship between such realization and the
concept of karman. In the first section, this
relationship will be dealt with on a more or less
theoretical level; in the second, the
characteristically Zen move will be made away from
the theoretical toward the level of practice and
spiritual attainment.


It would seem plausible to suppose that if the scope
of the realization of emptiness is completely
unrestricted, then it must extend to the fact of
karman, in which case karman must be seen as empty,
like all other dharmas. Although this thesis appears
unexceptionable, it turns out to be the source of a
good deal of controversy within the Zen school. A
Zen figure of no less stature than Dogen, for
example, emphatically denies that karmic hindrances
are empty.(1) He even claims that the belief in the
emptiness of karman should be characterized as
"non-Buddhist."(2) On the other hand, many Zen
masters subscribe to the view expressed by Yoka
Daishi in his "Song of Enlightenment": "When
awakened we find karmic hindrances fundamentally
Mu./But when not awakened, we must repay all our

Dogen has two kinds of objections to the
emptiness of karman. His first objection is
ontological: karmic hindrances cannot be considered
empty because "something we have produced" cannot
"have emptiness as its essential nature."(4) This
would seem to exclude from the scope of emptiness
everything associated with agency, will and
action--a quite significant restriction indeed.
Since the root meaning of "karman" is action, this
objection amounts to the insistence that karman
cannot be empty because action is something we have
produced, and something we have produced cannot be
empty. The second objection is moral: if karman
(construed now as the law of causation) were empty,
then the necessary practical consequence is moral
laxity, complacency, and antinomianism.(5) I shall
deal with these objection in reverse order.

Dogen seems to feel that the emptiness of karman
must be denied if karman is to serve as a foundation
for morality. Or: karman as moral law cannot be
empty. Now the trouble with speaking of karman as
moral law is that thereby one commits oneself to
seeing its operation as part of the very fabric of
reality, which in turn commits one to the kind of
reification and hypostatization that is proscribed
by the realization of emptiness.(6) The spirit of
emptiness consists, I think, in the elimination of
all reification and hypostatization. To say that
karman is empty, or devoid of own-being, means in
effect that there is no "nature" or "essence" the
term refers to or names. But the metaphor of karman


as moral law seems to reintroduce essentialism on
the ground that this is necessary if one is to
secure the objective status and independent reality
of karman. Since the whole point of emptiness,
however, is to cut off our attachment to the belief
in the objective status and independent reality of
dharmas, the force of the metaphor of karman as
moral law and the spirit of emptiness seem

If karman is not metaphorically conceived of as
the ground of morality, then there is no reason for
insisting that it be nonempty. The problem, in my
opinion, lies in the whole enterprise of grounding
morality and in the assumption that morality
requires such a ground; it does not lie in karman
itself. If we take the spirit of emptiness
seriously, then the attempt to ground morality in
karman, to the extent that it inevitably involves
reification and hypostatization, must, I think, be
seen as deluded. If the spirit of emptiness is to
extend to morality, it must be to a "groundless"
morality in which there would no longer be any need
to reify karman. At the very least it must remain an
open question whether morality requires such

Another way of putting the problem would be to
say that the metaphor of karman as moral law commits
one to attributing to karman a concreteness of
existence which is incompatible with the spirit of
emptiness. In one place Dogen seems almost to
concede that karman is, in some sense, empty when he
says that "basically the law of karman has no
concrete existence."(7) It is precisely the concrete
existence of karman that is incompatible with its
being empty; and it is precisely such "concreteness"
which reification and hypostatization seek to
effect. Here I think one can say that the entire
metaphor of karman as moral law involves the fallacy
of misplaced concreteness, and that the whole point
of the realization of emptiness is to see through
this pervasive and insidious fallacy. (I hasten to
add: "the whole point" from a theoretical point of

Dogen's second objection, then, turns on a
certain use to which karman is to be put (namely,
being the ground of morality). His claim is that if
karman were empty, it could not be put to that use;
to which the response is that the question of the
emptiness or nonemptiness of karman must be decided
independently of any consideration of possible uses.
If karman cannot both be empty and the concrete
ground of morality, it is by no means self-evident
that the former alternative is the one to be
rejected. The attempt to deny the emptiness of
karman because it conflicts with the use of karman
as the ground of morality involves an inappropriate
mixing of theoretical and practical considerations.

I turn now to Dogen's first objection. To say
that something we have produced cannot have
emptiness as its essential nature amounts to
claiming that agency, will, and action have a kind
of reality which is exempt from the scope of
emptiness. Dogen seems to be distinguishing between
dharmas which we have not produced-these are
empty--and those which we have produced.


Is there any validity to this distinction? I think
the only way we can make sense of this distinction
is if karman is no longer seen as a dharma in the
world, but rather as something in some sense prior
to the world. That karman should, in fact, be seen
as prior to the world in the sense of being the
transcendental condition of the possibility of the
human world has been persuasively argued in a recent
unpublished paper by Bibhuti Yadav.(8) If it is
plausible to restrict the scope of emptiness to
dharmas within the world, and if it is indeed the
case that karman ought to be viewed as prior to the
world, then perhaps it becomes possible to claim
that karman is not empty because it is prior to the
world. I think there is, in fact, some plausibility
to this view.

According to Yadav, the world comes into being
because of the fact of karman, which "signifies the
ego's commitment to bear the world in the first
person." (9) He goes on to claim that karman, as the
fundamental expression of ego, is, like the ego,
"existentially a priori in the sense that it is
presupposed in all experience and therefore the
world itself"(10) We would do well here to
distinguish two senses of karman: the first
referring to action prior to the world, or action
which creates the world (Action), and the second
referring to action occurring within that created
world (action) . I believe Yadav is right in
insisting that the real thrust of the concept of
karman has to do with the first sense of karman
rather than the second. Moreover, even though he
does not deal with Zen, I think Yadav's point
captures the spirit of the Zen approach to karman
which seeks precisely to uproot the karman prior to
the world by undermining "the ego's commitment to
bear the world in the first person"; undermining
such a commitment is tantamount to what Castaneda
calls "stopping the world;" the whole point of
meditation practice in Zen being nothing less than
that of trying to stop the world. Zen's fundamental
interest in karman is on this a priori or
transcendental level.

We can now reconstruct Dogen's claim as follows:
instead of saying that karma cannot be empty because
actions produced by us cannot be so considered, we
would now say rather that the production of the
world itself through Action cannot be considered
empty because emptiness applies only to the
posterior not the a priori level. I do not wish to
argue for the reasonableness or truth of this
reconstructed claim. What I would like to argue for
is that, as far as Zen is concerned, whether Action
is in some static sense empty, what is of crucial
importance is the fact that in a dynamic sense it
must and can be made so through meditation practice.
Indeed, the whole thrust of Zen practice is directed
toward the realization of the emptiness of Action.
The Zen student traces action to its source in
Action and then uproots its source. (I shall have
more to say of this in the second section.)

When Action has been rendered empty, then the
world has been stopped and, to use the expression
found again and again in Zen literature, one
realizes that "There is nothing at all."(11) Because
karman creates the world in the sense of creating
the permanent ego-based illusion that there is
something rather


than nothing, karman is more the enemy of the
realization of actual nothingness than it is the
enemy of the attainment of virtue--at least as far
as Zen is concerned. The reason one's karman--good
or bad--stands in the way of enlightenment is that
it represents the permanent illusion that there is
ultimately something rather than nothing. What is
the characteristic concern of Zen is the
deconceptualization and deobjectification of karman.
Freedom from karman means freedom from the
objectification of karman. Such objectification is
incompatible with the spirit of emptiness. Through
meditation practice the student learns how not to
objectify his karman and his actions; the reason
meditation practice can teach this all-important
lesson is that it is action which is itself free
from objectification and conceptualization. Because
meditation, strictly speaking, cannot be
objectified, it can free us from the pernicious
habit of objectifying our actions. It is in this
sense that meditation practice can be spoken of as
being both karman-free and karman-freeing nonaction.
It is ''doing nothing" (rather than "doing nothing")
in the words of the contemporary Zen master Soen
Nakagawa, who thus expresses the essence of Rinzai's
notion of buji.(12) Meditation stops the
objectification of action by tracing it to that
Action which is behind such objectification; that
Action is equivalent to ego itself as creator of the
dualistic human world. Such a world is based on a
mistake built into the very nature of ego: instead
of participating in and uniting with the actual
nothingness, we create something by willfully
setting ourselves in opposition to it; such willful
opposition is what is meant by karman(or Action) in
its true ontological significance. Doing nothing, in
this context, means precisely this active
participation in the truth of nothingness or
emptiness. It is Non-Action which undoes what Action
has done. It does not create a world; it undoes the
world that Action has created.


What is ultimately important in Zen is not whether,
in some theoretical sense, karman is empty, but
whether, in a radical practical way, it can be
realized or actualized as empty through meditation
practice. Another way of putting this would be to
say that one shows, on the practical level, that
karman is empty precisely by uniting with it; a
union which would be impossible were karman not
empty. What precludes the possibility of such union
is simply the habit of objectification, which
separates the agent from his action and his action
from the formless reality of the universe. It is
this habit that is broken by meditation practice.
Once one no longer objectifies his karman, then one
is no longer separate either from his action or his
environment. Such union, I suggest, characterizes
the relevant sense in which, from a Zen point of
view, there is liberation from karman. Far what
enslaves us about karman is our dualistic separation
from it. By uniting with the fact of karman we
reveal the truth of emptiness, which is nothing but
the truth of radical nonduality.


To make this point clearer I should like to turn to
a brief consideration of the koan from The Gateless
Gate known as "Hyakujo's Fox."(13)

This koan concerns the relationship between
karman and enlightenment. In his commentary on this
koan, Joshu Sasaki Roshi says that what is at the
heart of it is the realization that the world is a
mistake.(14) It is a mistake in the sense that it is
mis-taken as an object, set over against a subject;
without this mistake of objectification there would
be no world at all. If the world is in essence a
mistake, then the task of the enlightened person is
to unite with the mistake. This need for a practical
union with what is mis-taken means that any attempt
at a theoretical discussion of the relationship
between karman and enlightenment is pointless, since
the context of the discussion--the world--is such
that any statement within this context must itself
be mistaken. (Compare Nietzsche's "Everything is
false.") The point is that the only way to undo the
mistake is to become it; in so doing one expresses
one's understanding that "there is no need to
realize truth" in a world which is mistaken.(15)

The enlightened person can free himself from this
mistake by uprooting all trace of objectification,
but it is nonetheless the case that he must live in
that mistaken world and therefore his way of life
must involve, not an escape from the world into the
so-called truth of enlightenment, but a complete
transcendence of truth itself. The old man is
enlightened by Hyakujo's response to his question
not because it is the "right" response, but rather
because the response succeeds in making him realize
that there is no truth to be realized. When Hyakujo
says to Obaku, "I thought a foreigner's beard is
red, but now I see that it is a foreigner with a red
beard," he thereby vividly shows his own complete
union with, and liberation from, both unmistaken and
mistaken opinions about karman and enlightenment. As
a result, he shows that he has become one with the
spirit of nonduality that does not exclude anything
at all.

If the world is a mistake because of the fact of
objectification; and if there is objectification
because of the fact of action; and if karman
primarily refers to this fact of action on an
ontological level; then, one can say that karman is
indeed the source of the world as mistake. The world
is a mistake because the impulse to act is
ontologically mistaken: it presupposes the
mis-taking of reality as something separate from and
external to the ego-agent. The fact of action causes
the appearance of dualism because the agent requires
that there be a world separate from himself in terms
of which his actions can be objectified. Because of
this intimate connection between action and
objectification, it can be said that the deluded
tendency to reify and hypostatize the world--to give
it "concrete existence"--is largely the result of
the significance-conditions of action.

To unite completely with the world as mistake,
the enlightened person must completely unite with
karman as the source of the world as mistake. Not
merely with "his" karman in some personal or
individualistic sense, but more


importantly with the ontological fact of karman as
described. When one has completely united with or
become the mistake, then and only then is it
possible to transform action as mistaking into
action as partaking of reality. Since the mistake at
the heart of action lies in the separation of the
agent both from his action and the world (or: in the
requirement that there be such separation as the
condition of the possibility of action), Zen's
response is that through meditation practice one
must learn a way of action which entails not
separation but union. To act without separating:
this is easy enough to say but very difficult in
practice; for what is involved is learning to act in
such a way as to undo one's doing, in effect, to
enact the undoing of doing. The point is that when
one has united with one's karman at its source, even
though the mistaken character of it continues to
exist, one is no longer taken in by the mistake and,
in this sense, one can be said to be free from it.
On the practical level, then, there can be
liberation from the mistake even though, on a
theoretical level, the mistake is ineliminable.(16)

What has been called here "union with the
mistake" corresponds, I think, to what Dogen means
by his idea of "Great Karman."(17) As I understand
it, this expression refers to the fact that the
enlightened person becomes united not merely with
his personal karman but also with the fact of karman
as the action-objectification mistake. This
transpersonal sense of karman is "great" in the
sense of being absolute, which is to say, no longer
merely relative to details of personal or individual
karman. I am not merely "my" karman, I am karman
itself: I am the fact that the ego-based impulse to
act simultaneously creates both the agent and the
world in which he acts. What is of crucial
importance in Zen is not making karman into
something which exists outside of oneself, which is
what one does, for example, when one speaks of it as
moral law or even as the law of causation. As Sasaki
Roshi says, karman "never exists outside of
yourself. This is very difficult. The world is
one."(18) Part of what this means is that there is
not "you" and "the world," or "you" and "karman'';
what there is is the one mistake of objectification.
When karman is no longer located outside of oneself,
then, strictly speaking, there is neither you nor the
world; and hence no context really in which to speak
of karman or for it to function. Because karman
ceases to function once the dualistic framework it
requires has been undermined, the existential union
with karman can bring about both liberation and

Going back to the distinction introduced in the
first section, we can say that karman and world are
one because karman creates world. The posterior
karman appearing in the world (action) is created by
the karman prior to the world (Action), and is
therefore dependent on it. We tend not to notice
this crucial dependence because of our wrongheaded
belief in the independent, objective reality of
posterior karman. What this belief does, on the
practical level, is separate us from our karman
(objectification entails estrangement),


and this, in turn, endangers the possibility of
union. To perceive the dependence in question we
must deobjectify karman, which is done, once again,
through meditation practice. By deobjectifying
karman one renders it empty--one realizes or
actualizes its emptiness. As a result, one is freed
from the error of reification and hypostatization.

Hakuin speaks in his "Song of Zazen" of
extinguishing karman in just one meditation
period.(19) Although it is somewhat presumptuous of
me even to venture an interpretation of what this
means, I think that what is extinguished here is not
so much one's personal or individual karman as the
transpersonal source of such karman. As a result of
the enlightenment experience, one sees into the deep
dependence of posterior karman on the karman prior
to the world; one sees into the emptiness of will
and agency. This enables one to be at one with one's
personal karman, because what produces separation
from it is the tacit belief that will and agency are
not empty. The relevant sense in which to speak of
"purification" of karman, as far as Zen is
concerned, is ontological rather than moral. One
purifies one's karman by no longer locating it
outside of oneself.

Strictly speaking, the enlightened person stands
in no relationship whatsoever to his posterior
karman because there is no distance between him and
"it" at all; and because there is no distance, no
relationship is possible. This is one of the
all-important teachings of the koan in question.(20)
Accordingly any question about the nature of the
relationship between karman and enlightenment should
be answered-no-relationship. The enlightened person
is neither free from nor subject to his posterior
karman, because both freedom and subjection are
relationships presupposing separation between "me"
and "my" karman. The whole point of enlightenment in
this context is that all relationship to posterior
karman is abandoned in favor of complete existential

The characteristic Zen insistence is that karman
must be seen transpersonally. But, paradoxically
enough, this does not involve transcendence of
personal karman; rather, it comes about precisely
through union with personal or posterior karman.
When the enlightened person fully unites with his
karman, his karman and the universe become one. For
what is meant by "the universe" here is nothing but
the realization of nonduality, which is exactly what
is effected through such union. Once this total
identification has been made, according to Shibayama

the man of real freedom... lives in peace whatever
circumstances cause and effect bring about. Whether
the situation be favorable or adverse, he lives it
as the absolute situation with his whole being.(21)

When one has seen into the dependence of action on
Action, one realizes that one does indeed live in a
world that one has created oneself. This realization
makes it imperative that one live in what one has
created wholeheartedly.


Situations are no longer relative to this or that
consideration; they are all the same in the sense
that they are all but manifestations of the mistake
which is Action itself. This is the way in which
they are seen as being absolute.

Shibayama Roshi goes on to say (construing
"karman" as causation):

Anything is just 'it.' Anything is just causation.
What else could we say? This very place is the
absolute place. When the whole universe is causation
itself, how can there be 'falling' or 'not falling'?
You may therefore correctly call it 'not falling,'
or just as correctly 'not ignoring.' If even a
thought of knowledge moves there, both 'not falling'
and 'not ignoring' are in error. You may say, 'not
ignoring causation, ' yet if discriminating
consciousness moves there and if you become attached
to 'not ignoring,' you are turned into a fox. You
may say, 'not falling into causation,' and if you do
not become attached to it, you are released from the
fox body. The essence of this koan can really be
appreciated when one experiences the fact of

When I no longer stand in any relationship to what
is happening (and no longer, therefore, "know" what
is happening), there is no longer anything relative
about what is happening. When everything has become
absolute in this sense, then it is possible to unite
with or become one's karman, because one has
abandoned the very habit which precluded such
union--namely, the interest in knowing one's karman.
When one unites with one's karman, it thereby
becomes absolute; but once it has become absolute,
it is no longer "mine," for there is no relationship
at all that obtains at that point. This is the
crucial paradox behind the movement to an
understanding of the transpersonal dimension of
karman: when I become my karman, my karman is no
longer mine. This paradox shows the sense in which
transcendence is not at all what is involved here.
Access to the transpersonal comes through the
abandonment of all relationship to one's karman,
including the relationship of transcendence.

When one has become one's karman, one has gone
beyond discriminating consciousness. One exists
one's karman in the simplicity of suchness. In terms
of the koan, this point can be made by saying that
instead of seeing the fact that the old man was
given a fox body as punishment for a wrong answer to
the question concerning the relationship between
karman and enlightenment, one should simply say,
according to Shibayama Roshi, when a fox, be a fox
completely; when an old man, be an old man
completely. It is most emphatically not a matter of
reward or punishment, right and wrong, truth and
falsity. As always in Zen, the ultimate
consideration is practical and existential: how is
one to live one's karman? The answer is: unite with
it completely, so that there is no trace of
separation from it. This is freedom. Shibayama Roshi
puts this beautifully as follows:

When a fox is really a fox, and not a thought of
discriminating consciousness moves there, he is
truly 'a former head of a monastery.' When an old
man cannot be an old man and goes astray with his
dualistic thinking, he is a fox. Master Dogen said,
"Once you have attained satori, if you were to
transmigrate through the six realms and the four
modes of life, your transmigration would be nothing
but the work of your compassionate life of


By implication, I think, the traditional association
of karman with transmigration and rebirth is yet
another example of that discriminating, objectifying
consciousness which seeks to give to karman an
external reality it does not have. If the mind does
not wander, there is in effect neither
transmigration nor rebirth.(24) Believing in these
notions betrays the fact that one is still locating
karman outside oneself. Shibayama Roshi puts this by
speaking of the "ghost-story" aspect of karman: if
you are united with your karman, you are not a
ghost; if you are not a ghost, you do not
transmigrate.(25) When the mind wanders outside of
itself, it naturally locates karman outside of
itself, and so generates the notion of
transmigration, which is essentially a metaphor of
the wandering mind (which should not be

Not to wander means to exist each condition and
situation as absolute. When this is the way one
lives, it is literally not possible to wander or
transmigrate in this sense, since there is nowhere
to go when one lives in the absolute. If "here" is
always absolutely here, then there is no "there" at
all. True nomindedness, then, precludes the
possibility of wandering and transmigration by
undermining the very significance-conditions that
would make such a possibility intelligible to begin
with. (As they say in Maine: "You can't get there
from here.")

In conclusion, I think we can agree with R. H.
Blyth's remark that the problem of karman is solved
not by transcending it, but by reaching the ground
of being--thusness.(26) Karman is a great apparent
obstacle to the realization of thusness or suchness
because it perpetually tempts us to engage in the
misguided ways of the relative, objectifying, and
discriminating mind. Our impulse is to try to figure
out how we are related to karman, but once we embark
on this enterprise, we are already hopelessly on te
wrong track, since the whole point of suchness is
that it presupposes a mind free from the habit of
relating itself to anything, including karman. The
moment one tries to figure out one's relationship to
one's karman, one has become separate from it; one
has become a ghost. The Zen move here is to counsel
us to reunite with our karman and stop being ghosts.
In practice, the way of returning to the ground of
being in suchness is simply to forget about how one
is or is not related to one's karman and just become
it. Again: when a fox, be a fox; when an old man, be
an old man. Stop being, once and for all, what
Heidegger once called "a creature of distances."


1. Dogen Kigen, Shobogenzo: The Eye and Treasury
of the True Law, trans. Kosen Nishiyama and John
Stevens, Vol. 1 (Sendai, Japan: Daihokkaikaku
Publishing Co., 1975), p. 149.

2. Ibid.

3. Daily Sutras (New York: Zen Studies Society,
1967), p. 43. "Mu" here refers to the realization of

4. Nishiyama and Stevens, p. 149.


5. For a full account of Dogen's views on karman
and morality, see Hee-Jin Kim, Dogen Kigen: Mystical
Realist (Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona
Press. 1975), especially pp. 281-282.

6. Reification and hypostatization are the
conceptual maneuvers which result in our mistaken
belief in the ownbeing or self-nature of dharmas.

7. Nishiyama and Stevens, p. 142.

8. "Problems in the Concept of Karma," presented
in October, 1977 at a conference at SUNY Buffalo,
one of whose panels was devoted to the concept of

9. Yadav, p. 11.

10. Ibid., p. 15.

11. Emphasis on this theme is particularly
characteristic of Yoka Daishi's "Song of

12. See Namu Dai Bosa: A Transmission of Zen
Buddhism to America, ed. Louis Nordstrom (New York:
Theatre Arts Books, 1976), section 2.

13. In order that the reader can refer to it in
the course of reading this essay I will state the
koan in full. See Zenkei Shibayama Roshi, Zen
Comments on the Mumonkan (New York: New American
Library, 1974), pp. 33-34.

Whenever Master Hyakujo gave teisho on Zen, an old
man sat with the monks to listen and always withdrew
when they did. One day, however, he remained behind,
and the master asked, "Who are you standing here
before me?" The old man replied, "I am not a human
being. In the past, in the time of the Kasho Buddha,
I was the head of a monastery. Once a monk asked me,
'Does an enlightened man also fall into causation or
not?' I replied, 'He does not.' Because of this
answer, I was made to live as a fox for five hundred
lives. Now I beg you, please say the turning words
on my behalf and release me from the fox body." The
old man then asked Hyakujo, "Does an enlightened man
also fall into causation or not?"

The Master said, "He does not ignore causation."
Hearing this the old man was at once enlightened.
Making a bow to Hyakujo he said, "I have now been
released from the fox body, which will be found
behind the mountain. I dare to make a request of the
Master. Please bury it as you would a deceased
monk." The Master had the ino strike the gavel and
announce to the monks that there would be a funeral
for a deceased monk after the midday meal. The monks
wondered, saying, "We are all in good health. There
is no sick monk in the Nirvana Hall. What is it all

After the meal the Master led the monks to a rock
behind the mountain, poked out a dead fox with his
staff, and cremated it.

In the evening the Master ascended the rostrum in
the hall and told the monks the whole story. Obaku
thereupon asked, "The old man failed to give the
correct turning words and was made to live as a fox
for five hundred lives, you say; if, however, his
answer had not been incorrect each time, what would
he have become?" The Master said, "Come closer to
me, I'll tell you." Obaku then stepped forward to
Hyakujo and slapped him. The Master laughed aloud,
clapping his hands, and said, "I thought a
foreigner's beard is red, but I see that it is a
foreigner with a red beard."

14. Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Buddha is the Center of
Gravity (San Cristobal, New Mexico: Lama Foundation,
1974), pp. 70-71.

15. Ibid., p. 47.

16. The mistake would be eliminable if the
relative truth of the world were not given the kind
of significance it is by the "double truth" or "two
truths" doctrine in Mahaayaana Buddhism. That is,
one cannot eliminate the mistaken character of
relative truth without violating the doctrine in

17. Nishiyama and Stevens, p. 149.

18. Sasaki Roshi, p. 47.

19. "Even those who have practiced zazen for
just one sitting can find all their evil karman
erased." Daily, Sutras, p. 33.

20. Because there is no distance between oneself
and one's karman, there is also no possibility of
having opinions or views about one's karman.

21. Shibayama Roshi, p. 35.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid., p. 39.

24. Dogen says: "If there is no transmigration
there is no need for liberation. Neither
transmigration nor liberation occur." Nishiyama and
Stevens, p. 143.

25. Shibayama Roshi, p. 40.

26. R. H. Blyth, Zen and Zen Classics: Volume
Four (Mumonkan) (Tokyo: The Hokuseido Press, 1966),
p. 54.

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