Advanced Test Question 1: Forget Lin Chi

Since I’ve decided that this blog is a forum for all my wacky thoughts, especially on Asian traditions, I’ve decided to ask research questions that I would hypothetically love to ask hypothetical students. Who knows what it will amount to, but I figured I’d like to keep a copy of my idea. And this blog is designed as the repository for just this sort of thing. I think.

Here is a research question for all you zenists out there.

Reconcile the following quote by Lin Chi, patriarch of zen,

Whatever comes along, don’t let yourself be taken in. If you have a moment of doubt, the demon will enter your mind. Even Bodhisattvas, if they give way to doubt, are be assailed by the demon of birth-and-death. Just put a stop to such thoughts, and never seek outside yourself. When something appears before you, shine your inner light upon it; have confidence in what is operating within you–everything else is empty,

with the following quote by Hakuin, a later Japanese patriarch who revitalized Rinzai, the Japanese zen school that traces its lineage back to Lin Chi:

When you come to think about it, those who have investigated the Mu koan, brought before themselves the great doubt… It is all a matter of raising or failing to raise this ball of doubt. It must be understood that this ball of doubt is like a pair of wings that advances you along the way.

Good Luck.

For bonus points, explain the relevance of the title of the question, “Forget Lin Chi,” and its relevance in this context.


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