Flat Mountain Dispatches



Ummon held up his staff and said, “We are told in the scriptures that an ordinary man thinks the staff is a real existence; that those of the Hinayana take it as nothing; that those believing in the pratyekabuddha take it as an illusory existence; that bodhisattvas say its reality is emptiness. But I say unto you, take the staff as just a staff; movement is movement; sitting is sitting, but do not waver under any circumstances!”

Comment: why is ummon so ambiguous there is nothing to be gained by such subtlety the others took the staff as just a staff while ummon shatters a thousand possibilities after all what can you do with a staff

shattered and scattered what fault could there be?

Note: An insignificant staff? / Each thing contains all qualities. A visionary experience? / The common people declare this reality.

“If you understand this staff, you monks, your travels are ended!” (Fenyang Wude)

Addendum: A monk approached Bokuju and said, 'What is the statement surpassing all Buddhas and Patriarchs?' The master instantly held forth his staff before the congregation, and said, 'I call this a staff, and what do you call it?' The monk who asked the question uttered not a word. The master holding it out again said, 'A statement surpassing all Buddhas and Patriarchs—was that not your question?'



One day Ummon ascended the rostrum and said, “Vasubandhu happened to transform himself into a staff of chestnut wood, and, striking the Earth once, all the innumerable Buddhas were released from their entangling words.” So saying he descended from the platform.

Comment: poor ummon he couldn't think of anything to say vasubandhu had a sort of accident with that chestnut transformation but innumerable leaves sprouting from that staff emptied ummons busy hour on the wooden rostrum once

vasubandhu happened to transform him self

Note: Even a crooked staff cuts through winds.

“Yesterday it was a wooden walking stick [...] tomorrow it may become firewood, crackling in the flames.” (Shifu Zhang)

Addendum | Blue Cliff Record: One day, the World-Honoured One ascended to the rostrum. Monjusri struck the table with the gavel and said, 'Contemplate clearly the Dharma of the Dharma-King! The Dharma of the Dharma-King is like this.' Thereupon, the World-Honoured One descended from the rostrum.



Ummon said to his monks, “The whole universe is the medicine to cure illness — but who's the sick man?”

Comment: every monk knows who the sick man is except for that mindless ummon who laughing at the misfortunes of others swallows the universe in a single gulp it's difficult to change your clothes when you wear nothing

if you are you are not if you are not you are what


19. SAY

Ummon said, “The entire universe, the Cosmos and the Great Earth, and I, this old monk in this world! With my staff I give it one blow, and say, 'It is smashed to smithereens!”

Comment: whichever way you break it something is tearing up and down bad luck for this old monk in this world with the entire universe on his back and ummon just behind about to strike worse luck for ummon what will he have left when it's all smashed to pieces

which was really broken ummon cosmos or universe


Been a long time coming. Finally started typesetting this for print..

I think I've settled on Riso printing with metallic gold. I'm planning to do two slim volumes containing 24 cases each, possibly including some cut-up fragments and accompanying images/designs. Haven't decided on how many copies yet.

#ummonkan #zine


A monk asked Ummon, “How about a man whose parents won't let him be a priest?” “Shallow!” said Ummon. “I am not uneducated, but I don't understand”, responded the monk. “Deep!” said Ummon.

Comment: shallowed

shall i allow depth owed shallows



Ummon asked a monk, “Where have you come from?” “From Nangaku,” he replied. “Usually,” said Ummon, “I don't entangle people with words, and bamboozle them with phrases; come a little closer!” The monk went nearer, and Ummon shouted, “Be off with you!”

Comment: closer or nearer if you refuse to answer the question it's a shame and everyone will sympathise after all it was already too late to come closer under such rudeness

night woods in winter barest branches growing on the moon what entangles what


A scrapbook of words → fragments from observations, meditations & relations with landscape & lore.

Also home to the #ummonkan transcription.

   AUTHOR: Raszy lives with their partner in a Swedish forest on a flat granite mountain, where they grow food, chop wood and restore old meadow-land. They're a friend to rad anarchists, trad witches & hermit monks.

CONTACT / FEDI LINKS:  📧 Email | flatmntn @ pm.me 📌 Write.as | flatmountain@write.as 📷 PixelFed.social | flatmountain@pixelfed.social 💬 Weirder.earth | flatmountain@weirder.earth 📖 Bookwyrm.social | flatmountain@bookwyrm.social

FEDI NOTE: I have a habit of re-drafting, editing and shifting entries around. If you're following and reading these posts via the fediverse, note that the federated drafts — on Mastodon for example — might be out-of-date.


Ummon asked a monk, “Are you the gardener?” “Yes” replied the monk. “Why have turnips no roots?” Ummon asked the monk, who could not reply. “Because,” said Ummon “rainwater is plentiful.”

Comment: why are turnips plentiful because rainwater has no roots but then why are roots plentiful

this line is too long too short too short to be longer

Note: Why explain turnips at all? This may well answer everything and nothing.

“Rice is in the bowl, water is in the tub, [turnips have no roots,] all’s right with the world.”

Addendum | Blue Cliff Record: “Chen Chou produces big turnips — Everyone knows. Just avoid saying so. Each time it's brought up it's brand new.”