Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Not Writing:

Koans In The Key Of B-Major

Ground Zero, Manhattan, New York, USA

June 6, 2004



This collection of koans, Not Writing: Koans In The Key Of B-Major, is the companion piece to The Last Place You Look: Koans Of Conduct.

It is also the first in a sextology titled Koans And So On:
  1. Not Writing: Koans In the Key Of B-Major
  2. The Last Place You Look: Koans Of Conduct
  3. I've Got Nothing To Say: Twenty Boxes Of Nearly Haiku
  4. Haiku
  5. State Of Play
  6. I've Got Nothing More To Say: Twenty Boxes Of Nearly Haiku II
in that order.




This sumi-e  circle is derived from the Sanskrit word "sunyata" and means "emptiness" or "nothingness" in Zen Buddhism.

It was created by Zen master and calligrapher Yamada Mumon Roshi.


A carefully crafted koan  (Zen riddle) will blow the mind. The best known and arguably the most brilliant and perfectly minimalistic koan is "What is the sound of one hand clapping?".

Originally introduced by roshis  (Zen masters) for their students to interact with during sitting meditation (Zazen), these at first perplexing pithy questions or statements aren't designed to be answered or contemplated rationally or reasonably. Neither will they provide insight in the ordinary sense. Rather, the result of interacting with a good koan is an "A-Ha!" experience which blows the rational reasonable mind unwiring who we really are as naked presence.

Of all the disciplines Werner engaged with before creating his magnum opus of transformation, it could be said Zen was the  essential one. It's entirely appropriate for people who are interested in Werner's work to be interested in Zen.

You may hear hints of haiku and aphorism and other Zen writing in my koans. Sip each slowly.

Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi not writing

it is captured

in inkless words
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi not writing

it is captured

in inklessness
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Where is your question
before it is asked?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

The chicken or the egg.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Which is the way it is?

Which is the way it is!
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi I'm not here isn't true.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Destiny. Choose.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Play now from the future.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Is the cup half empty or half full?

Definitely.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi what is is what is not is not is that it it is
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Does day care if night falls?
Does night care if day breaks?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Father, son, holy ghost:

me, not me, not not me.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi What is this "What is this?"?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi If I wasn't home when you didn't call
leave a message saying nothing.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi From a hubcap's perspective
the road is spinning.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi What is the color of painted rain?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi When did you choose to be born?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi round and round
through and out
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi An apple is an apple is an apple.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi What commitment does
your upset upset?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi catch bull at four
- cat stevens

catch cat at four
- bull
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Ego is a verb surviving itself.
I am being an abstract noun.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Love in order not in order to.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Voice? What voice?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi What is the you that loves me
when you say you love me?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Behold emptiness

and the calm.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Gaze at the back of your face.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi I've got the Buddha.
He's not the Buddha.
That's how I know.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Where is your consideration
before it's considered?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Show me meaningless emptiness.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Hand grasps itself
Eye sees itself.
Mind understands itself.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi What is the I that loves you
when I say I love you?
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi Forgive like etched water.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi There was joy.

Then you added meaning.
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi chop wood

carry water

make tea
Sumi-e circle by Yamada Mumon Roshi I am that I am.
I am not that I am not.


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© Laurence Platt - 1969, 1970, 2004 through 2016 Permission