Foyan – The Basis of Awareness

This episode’s reading is a selection called “The Basis of Awareness” from Instant Zen, a translation by Thomas Cleary of the writings of zen master Foyan. Foyan was a 12th century Chinese Zen master and is one of the few Zen masters that Cleary felt equal to the great ones of the Golden Age of Zen from the 7th to 10th centuries.

As befitting Zen, this is a very short reading.

This is podcast # 8 in The Induction Series. The aim of this series is to focus on “inspired” writings, those that carry the “living word.” Franklin Merrell-Wolff called them “mystic writings” and said that “when the ‘Voice of the Silence’ speaks into the relative world, the Meaning lies between the words, as it were, rather than in the direct content of the words themselves.”

Richard Rose said that “If you are interested in looking for Essence, from the point of the Process Observer you can be stimulated only by writings of inspiration rather than reason or direction” and referred students to his poem “Three Books of the Absolute.” While Rose used the term “inspirational,” clearly these are not necessarily inspirational, uplifting writings like one typically finds collected under that banner.

Foyan nothingness
Photo by Kunj Parekh on Unsplash

If you enjoy The Induction Series, please leave a review on Amazon of my book Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment.  There are currently 63 reviews and once we reach 100 reviews that boosts the visibility of the book.  You don’t have to purchase the book on Amazon to leave a review, and a few minutes of your time will help others seekers find the book.  Just click the link above and leave a few words in a review.  Thank you! 

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Selected Links and Topics from this Episode:

  • Read more about three of my favorite Zen masters.
  • “When you are looking inward, furthermore, there is no seeing subject. Some people swallow this in one gulp, so their eye of insight opens wide and they immediately arrive at their homeland.” Compare this to Douglas Harding’s work: “All I need to do to see into my Essential Nature is to turn round the arrow of my attention at this very moment and see that I am looking at this word processor out of nothing whatever….”
  • Not ready to read the book Instant Zen? Try another short writing by Foyan: “Sitting Meditation.”
  • Leave a review on Amazon of my book Subtraction: The Simple Math of Enlightenment. Our goal is to reach 100 reviews by the end of The Induction Series. We’re now at 63!

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