After Bankei had passed away, a blind man who lived near the master’s temple told a friend:

“Since I am blind, I cannot watch a person’s face, so I must judge his character by the sound of his voice. Ordinarily when I hear someone congratulate another upon his happiness or success, I also hear a secret tone of envy. When condolence is expressed for the misfortune of another, I hear pleasure and satisfaction, as if the one condoling was really glad there was something left to gain in his own world.

“In all my experience, however, Bankei’s voice was always sincere. Whenever he expressed happiness, I heard nothing but happiness, and whenever he expressed sorrow, sorrow was all I heard.”

Source |Paul Reps, Nyogen Senzaki, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
(Tuttle Publishing, 1998) pages 47-48


All our virtues are capable of being nothing but a disguise for their exact opposite.  Generosity can be a covert form of greed.


A follower asked, “You said that no desire, no action. no virtue, no truth are the Four Laws and the Way to Peace and Joy. But I do not see how there can be joy when there is no existence.”

The One Lord, the Messiah, answered, “What a wonderful question. I will tell you again. It is only nothing that can give rise to something. If it were in something, Peace and Joy would never be. And why? Take for example a mountain filled with forest. The leaves and branches of the trees spread shade everywhere. Surely this mountain forest does not seek birds and animals, but they all come here on their own to nest and gather.

“Or think of a great sea that draws all the rivers and springs and is vast without limits and deep beyond measure, Surely this ocean does not seek fish and scaly creatures. But they all dwell there on their own.

“Those of you who seek Peace and Joy are like these birds and fish. You need only pacify your minds and live quietly. Then in practicing these teachings, you will not have to seek Peace and Joy, they will simply be there like the forest and the ocean.This is how nothing gives rise to something.”

Source | Thomas Moore & Ray Riegert (Editors) The Lost Sutras of Jesus. Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks, pages 80-81



  • The first law is no desire. Your heart seeks one thing after another, creating a multitude of problems. you must not allow them to flare up. Desires are like the roots of plants. Since they are buried deep below the earth you can’t see them and don’t know they are damaged until the buds of the plant begin to wither and die. desire in the human heart can’t be recognized from the outside either. Desire can sap wholesome energy from the four limbs and the body’s openings, turning it into unwholesome activity. This cuts us off from the roots of Peace and Joy. That is why you must practice the law of no desire.
  • The second law is no action. Doing things for mundane reasons is not part of your true being. You have to cast aside vain endeavors and avoid shallow experiences. otherwise you are deceiving yourself. It’s like being aboard a ship adrift on the ocean. The sea water rolls and swells with the wind, creating waves that force the ship this way and that way. There is no peace on board, everyone is worrying they will sink. We live our lives veering this way and that: We do things for the sake of progress and material gain, neglecting what is truly important and losing sight of the Way. That is why you must distance yourself from the material wold and practice the law of no action.
  • The third law is no virtue . Don’t try to find pleasure by making a name for yourself through good deeds. Practice instead universal loving kindness that is directed towards everyone. Never seek praise for what you do. Consider the earth. It produces and nurtures a multitude of creatures, each receiving what it needs. Words cannot express the benefits the earth provides. Like the earth, you are at one with Peace and Joy when you practice the laws and save living creatures. But do it without acclaim. This is the law of no virtue.
  • The fourth law is no truth. Don’t be concerned with facts, forget about right and wrong, sinking or rising, winning or losing. Be like a mirror . It reflects one and all; blue, yellow and all other colors; long, short, any size. It reflects everything as it is, without judging. Those who have awakened to the Way, who have attained the mind of Peace and Joy, who can see all karmic conditions and who share their enlightenment with others, reflect the world like a mirror, leaving no trace of themselves.

Source | Thomas Moore & Ray Riegert (Editors) The Lost Sutras of Jesus. Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks, pages 81-83