34. Learning Is Not the Path

Nansen said: “Mind is not Buddha. Learning is not the path.”

Mumon’s comment: Nansen was getting old and forgot to be ashamed. He spoke out with bad breath and exposed the scandal of his own home. However, there are few who appreciate his kindness.

When the sky is clear the sun appears,
When the earth is parched rain will fall.
He opened his heart fully and spoke out,
But it was useless to talk to pigs and fish

The Seventh Sermon

At night the dead came back again and amidst complaining said: “One more thing we must know, because we had forgotten to discuss it: teach us concerning man!”

—Man is a portal through which one enters from the outer world of the gods, demons and souls, into the inner world, from the greater world into the smaller world. Small and insignificant is man; one leaves him soon behind, and thus one enters once more into infinite space, into the microcosm, into the inner eternity.

In immeasurable distance there glimmers a solitary star on the highest point of heaven. This is the only god of this lonely one. This is his world, his Pleroma, his divinity.

In this world, man is Abraxas, who gives birth to and devours his own world.

The star is man’s God and goal.

It is his guiding divinity; in it man finds repose.

To it goes the long journey of the soul after death; in it shine all things which otherwise might keep man from the greater world with the brilliance of a great light.

To this One, man ought to pray.

Such a prayer increases the light of the star.

Such a prayer builds a bridge over death.

It increases the light of the microcosm; when the outer world grows cold, this star still shines.

There is nothing that can separate man from his own God, if man can only turn his gaze away from the fiery spectacle of Abraxas.

Man here, God there.
Weakness and insignificance here, eternal creative power there.
Here is but darkness and damp cold.
There all is sunshine.

Upon hearing this the dead fell silent, and they rose up like smoke rises over the fire of the shepherd, who guards his flock by night.