Maria Habito offers warm and deep encouragement, and lush context, for the practice of Mu. She encountered Mu amidst her Christian doubts about God’s love in the face of an earthquake – or Auschwitz – and felt a kinship with the famous monk who asks about the dog. “Is God love?” “Mu.” She compares Mu to St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night, wherein will, memory, and intellect are extinguished: to reach the whole, one leaves the parts behind. At the same time, the unswallowable “hot iron ball” of Mu is just an innate longing – a love we can’t forget; the psalmist’s “deer that yearns for the running stream.”
She also weighs some merits of shikantaza/silent illumination – contemplating our kokoro, our empty, luminous core and extent – versus koans – which point crisply at both the luminous world before I-me-my and its vital manifestations.
She takes two questions, about Mu and Holy Communion and about longing vs. ambition.
Photo by Panuson Norkaew on Unsplash