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Fukasetsu

Fukasetsu (Jap., ‘the unsayable’). The Zen insistence that the experience of enlightenment (kensho, satori) cannot be described or communicated. Anyone who realizes his bussho (buddha-nature) is like a dumb man after a beautiful dream. It follows also that words are always approximate and corrigible: they are the sign that points to the moon, but not the moon itself. Hence arises the famous formula of ‘transmission outside the scriptures’, i.e. through the direct interaction of mondō or hossen, attributed first to Bodhidharma, but perhaps from Nan-chuan Pu-yuan: kyoge betsuden (transmission outside the formal teaching), furyu monji (transmission outside the scriptures), and jikishi ninshin (direct pointing to the human being or heart) lead to the realization of one's buddha-nature (kenshō jōbutsu).

Fukasetsu has its parallel in Zen, fukashigi, ‘the unthinkable’, that which can be experienced (enlightenment) but cannot be conceptualized.

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