Friday, April 24, 2015

Zen Sayings or Zengo


What a shame!

You usually see a hanging scroll displayed in a tea room. From the scroll, you are supposed to read the host’s mind or the theme of the ceremony that you are attending. In a tea ceremony, bokuseki or calligraphy, especially of a Zen monk is often preferred rather than drawings. The calligraphies are zengo, Zen Sayings. I often have hard time to understand what it means. Moreover, I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t even read it sometimes. I need to learn about zengo or at least just the basics.

This might not be zengo, but bokuseki looks something like this.

Incomprehensible Zen

It is said that Zen cannot be explained by words. Someone also says that while you are seeking what Zen is, it is not Zen. Um…. When I read books about Zen, I often have difficulty to understand them. Zen might not be a thing to comprehend intellectually and it may be a thing to realize from your experience. However, books are still the easiest way for me to know about it. This time, I got five casual books that have easy descriptions on various zengo (Zen sayings). By reading the five books, I realized two things. First, the descriptions among the five books are sometimes different even for the same saying. How it is construed might vary with the individual. The other thing is that there are some lessons that show up repeatedly in these books. These lessons can be a clue to understand Zen.

"Now", "Let it go" and "Don’t distinguish"

The three most memorable keywords and phrases I found in the books are “Now”, “Let it go” and “Don’t distinguish”. They are something like the following;
Do the best for now. You don’t need to be bothered with the past nor worry about the feature. Live for now. 
“Let it go”
Just follow as things go. “Be as you are.” “You already have everything.” “Discard things.” These are also the lessons that I found frequently in the books which are similar to this lesson in nature.
“Don’t distinguish”
It is not good to view things in two aspects; beautiful or ugly, in or out, or bright or dark. People tend to be obsessed too much about distinguishing things. Embrace things as they are. This lesson might lead to the lesson of unity or oneness.
There might be one truth in Zen. Words can only describe a certain aspect of it. These keywords are saying different things, but actually they might be describing the same truth from different angles. That’s what I feel.

行雲流水or kounryusui

Here, let me introduce one of my favorite zengo related to the lesson of “Let it go”.
行雲流水or kounryusui
It literally means “Clouds move and water flows”. This lesson means “Live without fixating and go with the times.” Clouds and water don’t stay at on place. They travel even if there are obstacles. They change into any shape and flow with the grain of nature.

Influence of Zen

Even though I can’t still understand what Zen is, I can sense that Zen has a lot of influence on chanoyu and today’s Japanese culture. It kind of make sense. For example, a host tries to have a bud that just started blooming for the tea flower. Usually, the blooming is quite short and with the host preparing the young bloom just for the very moment makes it even more special‏. This preference might come from the lesson of “Now”.
For an example of the lesson of “don’t distinguish things”, Japanese are not good at giving definite yes or no for an answer. We might feel comfortable by making things a bit ambiguous.
A lot of people don’t know much about Zen even in Japan. However, there are many traditions and attitude of ours that comes from Zen idea, and we benefit from it spontaneously. Knowing zengo might help us to realize the underlying principle behind chanoyu and Japanese culture.


  1. Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.

  2. * - Jual Obat Aborsi, Obat Aborsi - Obat Aborsi Cytotec, * Jual Obat Aborsi Ampuh - Obat Penggugur Kandungan * Obat Penggugur Kandungan ,,
    * Thanks for sharing the information *

  3. The website is looking bit flashy and it catches the visitors eyes. Design is pretty simple and a good user friendly interface.
    wholesale fittings

  4. شركة نقل اثاث بابها
    شركة تنظيف بحفر الباطن

    كم يكلف تبليط الحوش ؟ الحمامات من الاماكن التي يجب ان تكون نظيفة دائماً و احيانا نظافة الحمامات تعتمد علي عدم توازن البلاط و بالتالي تقف المياه ولا تسير في اتجاه الصرف و تلك الاخطاء تكن بسبب الالتوائات الموجودة في البلاط و السبب الاساسي هي الصناعة، يجب ايها الاخ القارئ ان تنفق ما في جيبك من اجل اختيار افضل انواع البلاط من حيث جودة البلاطة الاساسية في الصنع و من حيث الالوان.شركة تسليك مجارى بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة تنظيف بحفر الباطن

    المواصفات التي يمتلكها البلاط و السيراميك الذي يتواجد لدينا

    تتراوح سماكة البلاطة من بين ثلاث الي سع سنتيات و يختلف السمك علي اختلاف المكان الذي سوف تقوم بتركيب البلاطة به
    الكل يعرف ان البلاط متعدد الفرز و هناك ثلاث انواع من الفرز ولكن شركة الرائع السعودي لا تتدوال الا الفرز الاول حتي يستطيع المقاومة و العيش لفترة كبيرة

  5. Did you hear there is a 12 word sentence you can communicate to your partner... that will induce intense feelings of love and instinctual attractiveness for you deep within his heart?

    That's because hidden in these 12 words is a "secret signal" that fuels a man's instinct to love, look after and protect you with his entire heart...

    ===> 12 Words Will Fuel A Man's Love Instinct

    This instinct is so built-in to a man's mind that it will make him work harder than ever before to make your relationship as strong as it can be.

    As a matter of fact, fueling this dominant instinct is absolutely essential to having the best ever relationship with your man that the instance you send your man a "Secret Signal"...

    ...You will instantly find him open his heart and mind to you in a way he haven't experienced before and he will perceive you as the only woman in the world who has ever truly understood him.

  6. Every player who wants to achieve excellent results in Path Of Exile 3.16: Scourge must buy POE Currency for their ideals.

    Attached link: