Two Zen Sayings

I was corresponding with a person online about belief and disbelief, and I saw fit to quote my two favorite zen sayings. I read these years ago, and couldn’t cite the source if you held a gun to my head. So with my apologies to whomever said these first (or first wrote them down in English), here are my favorite windows into zenspace:

Three things are required for zen: great faith, great doubt, and great perseverance.

Quit trying. Quit trying not to try. Quit quitting.

Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
Pentecost and Ecstasy
Mysticism and the Divine Feminine: An Interview with Mirabai Starr
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Mark Donahue

    I had a discussion last weekend, with a dear friend, at his birthday party. We were discussing non duality, and faith, etc. And I, well lubricated by yellow charteuse, and green…green, felt that channel open and the words come. The Daemon spoke, and we all listened. When I finished, he said, “So that’s the answer then. We can believe in That.”
    I leapt from my seat and said, “NO! NO! NO! Do NOT believe me. Doubt! Doubt everything!” and he fell to the ground laughing, and said, “This is the best party conversation of all time. DOUBT EVERYTHING!”
    Zen happens.
    And it also doesn’t.
    I love your blog.

  • Brother Tadhg

    Great zen maxims. Have you read Caroline Myss’s book on ‘Entering The Castle’? Those maxims occur there – but I’m sure elsewhere previously.
    Brother Tadhg