Zen Talk: The Before and After of Understanding Zen

Learning Zen is a phenomenon of gold and dung.
Before you understand it, it’s like gold; after
you understand it, it’s like dung.
– Zen master

It’s hard to know what to do with a quote like this. Should we be disillusioned? I don’t want to hunt for gold and end up with a fistful of dung!

Of course, this could just be another way of saying that the journey is more important than the destination. While you’re searching and on your path, you believe that the Zen you are going to reach is of ultimate importance, like gold. However, upon reaching your goal (understanding Zen), you’re just like, “Okay, now what.”

That seems a little, uh, disappointing, but you know these Zen Masters and their love of creating disturbingly sharp contrasts and playing down the importance of things. Crazy Zen Masters!

What do you think of this quote?

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