I love martial arts quotes & philosophical ones. Attached is a picture of Zen Quote But I can’t understand it. could you reph

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    I love martial arts quotes & philosophical ones.

    following is a Zen Quote But I can’t understand it. could you rephrase it please ?

    ” It is he silence b/w the notes which makes the music ; it is the space b/w the bars that cages the tiger. “



    Best regards- I think to just rephrase in different wording wouldn’t give the actual benefit (as rather than a riddle, or definitions, to understand- if they could have been direct, perhaps they might- while the attempt to hint beyond words, perhaps, was because the intuitive grasp, the AHA opening is what is needed…)

    “The finger pointing at the moon, is not the moon.” (nor is the map the territory, “One cannot eat the words/names, nor pictures, upon a menu.” the meal comes from the kitchen, after an “order”/request is made, and waiter delivers).

    but- see Tao Te Ching Ch 11. “The Uses of Not….”
    The 30 spokes meet ‘in’ the hub; where the wheel “isn’t” is ‘where’ it is useful….
    (Cut doors and windows- of oppor- to make a room. Where the room “isn’t”, ‘There’ is room for you….)
    So the profit in what ‘is’… is in the use of what isn’t…..
    -from translation by LeGuin, Ursula

    to just reframe an object focus- to conceptualize something- a concept- as a thing, and see that thing (as a word, or term) isn’t the first step, rather to start to see the whole. (is what is observing inside you- a thing, an object, to your awareness.. or it that which is aware a “not”?)

    To literally point- the quote you have- I’d focus upon the first of the two parts. (the in-between the notes= music.. melody, a tune isn’t a sequence of tones.. its a ‘song’ but the individual tones don’t contain.. as the rhythm makes it.. slow it down and start-stop the same notes.. and lose that ‘song’
    just as mastery, in say martial, isn’t just shapes and postures, but how they are connected (even what it is that connects.. but what if that which seems to connect, isn’t doing movements? or if the notes stop- does the song no longer exist?)
    (the understanding, not just to replace, rephrase words, but what is inside, in-between the words (like that tiger ‘in’ the cage).. just as what is the nature of the “cloth” that can’t be grasped, in-between the 4 pts (ie if you know where the 4 corners are- but you can’t sense the edge, between each of those 2 corners.. and you definitely can’t sense/grasp the cloth within the edges.. but you know it is between the 4, so sort-of focus in that area.. [which is not emptiness, nor space].

    -Feel the struggle of the mind to shut-it-down, make a conclusion and be done, as if there is a strain each moment that the question isn’t answered.. it wants to be make it clear: one way or the other.. but to remain in that questioning, what is it? (and not disconnect, mind saying who cares, or “there is no answer.” .. nor go into strain.. not collapse into a known explanation- and feel that looking-pondering. How long sustain, while that questioning is still sincere-alive, feeling an answer could appear ?)

    an exercise/work as much- or more- than any martial skill. -perhaps.. [pausing after practicing TaiChi, and learning from Bruce’s info, after the last few hrs.. thus my time to reply.]


    Here’s an EMT Website:


    The bars of a tiger cage have to be perfectly spaced,
    or the tiger goes free.

    Look at the time before and after an emergency call
    that tells you about the character of the medical technician.

    Before the call, how did the Technician maintain the equipment?
    Did the Technician stay at the hospital afterwards to tell the Doctor critical signs.

    How did the Martial artist train for an emergency?
    After an opponent is subdued, does the Martial artist show empathy for the opponent?

    Nice Zen koan.



    Hi, I will share from my meditation experiences in understanding this Zen quote with below examples.
    * “It is the silence b/w the notes which makes the music” –
    Eg After listening to the musical notes, “let go” of the notes & let the music brings you into a space within yourself. The music is still playing, however you are no longer listening to the music in the usual sense. This inner space cam be called “silence” & your heart is now listening to your innermost self or to a different joyous sound of the spheres. Then at the end of such an experience, you will say, ‘what a beautiful piece of music’. There should be many such pieces of music in our life based that can do the same, so it is the ‘silence’ which makes the music.
    * “it is the space b/w the bars that cages the tiger.” –
    This example is my guess, & also from my meditation experience. In my Taoist qigong, I could circulate chi through the body, & also inside-outside body. However, I did not link this to Buddhism till recently during my Goenka Vipassana Meditation Retreat on the Satipatthana Sutta. In the Satipatthana discourses, there is this repeating phrase “contemplating the internally, externally, and both internally & externally. Finally, during one of the Sati meditation sessions, I experenced the meaning of “both internally & externally”, i.e. when / where there is no more the distinction of internal & external anymore, as both merge as one in one stage. Back to the quote: So just see the space between bars without the “internal or external”, you are free. The tiger is just a metaphor. Eg Meditators, Nelson Mandela, etc in prisons carried on their lives as best as they could & did not let the bars & the idea of inside space vs outside space imprisoned their minds.

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