The Swinging Door, Shunryu Suzuki

What we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale.

When we practice zazen our mind always follows our breathing. When we inhale, the air comes into the inner world. When we exhale, the air goes out to the outer world. The inner world is limitless, and the outer world is limitless.

We say “inner world” or “outer world,” but actually there is just one whole world. In this limitless world, our throat is like a swinging door. The air comes in and goes out, like someone passing through a swinging door.

If you think, “I breathe,” the “I” is extra…what we call “I” is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves, that is all.  When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no “I,”  no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door.


From Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,  by Shunryu Suzuki
Publisher John Weatherhill, Inc, New York and Tokyo, 1970
Image:  She left the door open, Hartwig HKD, CC by ND-2.0, Flickr.com
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