"When Daisetz T. Suzuki was once asked, “What is Zen?” his answer was: “Zen is that which makes you ask the question, for the answer comes from where the question arises… When you ask what Zen is, you are asking who you are, what your Self is. Isn’t it the height of stupidity to ask what your Self is, when it is this very Self that makes you ask the question?”

Our usual questionings do not come from the depth of our being, but from sheer curiosity, from the intellect. Only when the intellect becomes aware of its limitations, or of its being handicapped by that dichotomy between subject and object without which discursive reasoning is impossible, are we ready to ask the existential question. The self, this ultimate Self of which Suzuki speaks, is above the level of duality. It is neither a metaphysical nor a psychological concept. It is not a concept at all: it is experienced! Rinzai pointed at it as “the True Man without rank,” Tillich called it Being, Eckhart spoke of the soul, Mahayana speaks of it as Sunyata, No-Thing, as “our Original Face before we even have been born.’”

–Fredrick Franck, from NOTES ON THE KOAN: Zen, Christian, and personal enigmas, PARABOLA, Fall 1988, “Questions.” 

Photography Credit: Erwin Blumfield: “Line on Face,” 1947-1949

via: parabola-magazine.