The way of the birds

A monk said to Tozan, “You always tell learners to take the way of the birds. What is this way of the birds?”

Tozan answered, “The bird flying across the sky leaves no footprints. This is called The Way of the Birds — simply disappearing into the nothingness of sky, without leaving a trace behind. Zen wants you to be just like the Birds’ Way — a nobody, a nothingness.

“It is strange but true that, in your nothingness, you are born for the first time. The nothingness is the womb out of which your spiritual heights are revealed.

“Just as you cannot follow the bird because he leaves no footprints, a buddha also leaves no footprints. You cannot follow a buddha for the simple reason that you are a buddha … you have just forgotten it.”