"I have something here: when you look at it, it's there, but when you look for it, it's not. What is it?" asked Tzu-te centuries ago. This is one of the Teachings of Zen translated and edited by Thomas Cleary. These talks, sayings, and conundrums by Chinese Zen masters have been chosen "for their accessibility, their clarity, and their practical effectiveness in fostering Zen concentration and insights."

The spiritual practice of openness is emphasized again and again. Te-shan says: "There is no special truth but this radiant spiritual openness, unobstructed and free." Zen masters salute "the original mind" which is calm and quiet. Chen-ching notes: "All spiritual capacities and miracle working are inherent endowments and need not be sought elsewhere." Look within and don't become attached to doctrines or rituals. T'ou Tzu, a Zen sage, says: "I have no mysterious marvel that can be conveyed to you." There is no teacher to follow, only the awakening that comes unannounced.

Zen is goalless, a process of simmering in the present moment with a lucid mind that is at ease. Or as Ta-y, Shou chich puts it: "Sit straight, and before you buy shoes measure your feet. Looking around this way and that isn't worth a cent." Teachings of Zen edited by Thomas Cleary is filled with glints of wisdom.