Where Is There An Opening?

Bodhi is originally without any tree;
The bright mirror is also not a stand.
Originally there is not a single thing —
Where could any dust be attracted?
– Huineng, 6th Partiarch of Zen Buddhism


Sixth Patriach Tearing the Sutra

In Huineng‘s day, the Sutras, the sacred scriptures of Buddhism, were hand-written and brought to China by traders from India and were worth their weight in silver. When Huineng, the original champion of immediate enlightenment which characterizes Zen Buddhism, reached satori, he ripped a Sutra to shreds, providing later generations of Buddhist artists a theme as familiar to them as, say, the Passion was to Christian artists. Along the same lines are Krishna’s comment in the Bhagavad Gita that “to the enlightened man, the Vedas (Hindu scriptures) are as superfluous as a cistern in a flood.”

I’ve meditated on this truth while reading a popular openings treatise. Weighty, up-to-date, impassioned, it exercised my chess mind but left me feeling completely detached from the goals of the author while respecting his prowess and hard work. The pieces move. We reset the board. The pieces move again. Where is there an opening?

Jacques Delaguerre