Enlightenment and Constipation: A Zen Poem

By Adam J. Pearson

In Zen Buddhism, there is a tradition in which Zen Masters will ask their students to write a verse of poetry that expresses their realization at that stage of their practice.  This verse is meant to represent a culmination of all of their meditation and direct insight into the nature of reality.

I was asked to write such a verse today.  Twenty seconds later, I shared the following lines:

Enlightenment and nonenlightenment,
Crap and constipation. 
Flush! Gone!
Paragate parasamgate!
All flushed down without a trace.
What a relief!
A winter breeze blows in through the window 
As, outside, the snow falls by itself.


Update: I showed this poem to Sunyananda Rudra. He said “Rebellion and Religion aren’t the same.” I answered: “If you cannot see Brahman in your own constipation, then you are still projecting dualism. Maya is still dancing before you.  When defecation and meditation are one and the same to you, and the temple and your own feces are just as holy, then Brahman has woken up to Itself.”


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