#merit

"No Merit" or "Mu Kudoku"

Eye-Opening Understandings of Merit Never Explained in Western Zen

“Bodhidharma’s Emptiness,” is a story often pointed to as a foundational Zen text, yet one of its central concepts – merit – is assumed intelligible to any western reader. I studied this story for my “Shuso Ceremony,”# and though I became intimate with it some 20 years ago, there’s much of it that I’ve taken for granted. The story appears as the second case in the Shoyoroku, or the Record of Serenity, and as such is of primary importance for understanding Zen. How is it that “merit” has gotten so overlooked?

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