The music of no one

//The music of no one

The music of no one

A story I heard today:

After a ceremony in a Zen monastery in Japan, a Western visitor asked a monk, « I don’t really understand: to whom are you singing? »
The monk replied, « That’s difficult to answer because there is really no one singing. »

By | 2015-10-02T20:07:44+01:00 mai 19th, 2008|Textes|7 Comments

About the Author:

Enseignante Zen et poète, Sensei Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell est née et a grandi à Minneapolis, aux Etats-Unis. Arrivée en France en 1981 pour étudier la littérature et l’histoire, elle y est restée, s’installant à Paris, où elle élève ses deux enfants et gagne sa vie en tant que journaliste. The Zen teacher and poet Amy “Tu es cela” Hollowell Sensei was born and raised in Minneapolis, but came to France in 1981 to study literature and history and has lived in Paris ever since, raising her two children and making a living as a journalist.


  1. Ting 26 mai 2008 at 21 h 46 min - Reply

    “Listen! Everything is singing!” you say.

    Everything is singing its heart out.

    How can one be deaf to that?

    It reminds me of:
    "Someone has drunk three bowls of the best wine, but says that he has not yet even moistened his lips." (Mumonkan case 10)

    Thank you Tu.

  2. Tu es cela 26 mai 2008 at 14 h 04 min - Reply

    « I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least,
    Nor do I understand who there can be more wonderful than myself. »
    from « Song of Myself, » by Walt Whitman

    I will not say, « Be it. »

    The plans, the projects, the futilities, the sobs, the laughs are all song!
    Everything is singing! Everyone is singing!
    When we hear one or all, then we hear no one singing.

  3. Ting 25 mai 2008 at 15 h 04 min - Reply

    “There is really no one singing.”

    That’s a thin line to something personal I wanted to get off my chest.

    Sometimes (like right now) I miss people who inspire me. “No one is singing”, in the sense that everyone is consumed with their plans and problems; is consumed with futilities.

    People struggle to master the concepts of Buddhism (like emptiness, no-self, non-duality) just to discover that these concepts must be left behind.
    But (right now) no one sings in a way that touches my heart.

    What can I do?
    I think I know what you’ll say: Be it.
    If you don’t find the inspiration be the inspiration.
    Give, and don’t expect anything in return.

    This week I had a tear-jerker-work-shop in the red-light district of Amsterdam.
    We learned to sing with a sob and a heavy vibrato; we learned to let it all out.

  4. Juan 24 mai 2008 at 20 h 32 min - Reply

    A few years ago at Todai-ji during Obon we were inmersed in mantras, people, statues, incense, candles and there we felt that the I, the you, the them are just referrals to what we consider our self, and they don’t matter as they’re just created by us.

  5. Emmanuel 20 mai 2008 at 23 h 33 min - Reply

    Assailli par le sentiment de souffrance, cet hiver, je me suis demandé quel sens elle pouvait bien avoir. Alors j’ai cherché des textes pour m’aider à y voir plus clair.
    Voici l’un de ceux que j’ai trouvés. Il nous donne aussi un éclairage sur la question posée ici.

    « Use your suffering, have faith in it because it is telling you a truth that you are fighting as hard as you can not to know, even while you work hard to know who and what you are.
    Your sufferings, your humiliation, your fear and anxiety are all telling you that you are not something.
    But you misinterpret what it all says. You think that it is telling you that you
    are nothing.»
    (Albert Low)

  6. little white cloud 19 mai 2008 at 23 h 53 min - Reply

    free trranslation:

    "… it will be me, it wil be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I will never know, in the silence one doesn’t know, one must go on, I will go on."

    ‘Molloy – Malone dies – Nameless’ Samuel Beckett

  7. Big Eyes 19 mai 2008 at 23 h 30 min - Reply

    Who am I?

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