A Samadhi of Words

tree at sunset

In his later years, Zen Master Hakuin spoke of entering “a samadhi of words” as he wrote. Like a prophet of old, he was gripped by inspiration ā€“ literally by the in-breath, and then the out-breath.

Perhaps we think of samadhi as a state beyond words, an effortless absorption in the moment that words can never touch. But here Hakuin says something different: He is effortlessly absorbed in words themselves, which is to say, with thought. Though thought is not all we are, nevertheless you are not separate from thoughts. You are entirely one with them; they arise as naturally as sap in a tree, and pass like falling leaves. Then your voice is one with the wind and the birds.

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