There is a quote by Shunryu Suzuki which says:

When you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do.

I think I've read this elsewhere described in terms of a snowflake in a fire, and everything turned to ash.

Is there an original source(s) of this concept, and if so, is there a succinct name for it in Chinese or Japanese Zen?

  • There is a similar question which has this answer
    – user17652
    Mar 26, 2021 at 8:35

1 Answer 1


"Wholeheartedness" is the term we use in my Rinzai lineage. In Japanese, you can probably get away with the term "kanshin" which loosely translates to "the mind with no remainder". Think of it as a mind that is so engaged, there's nothing left over that could be doing something else. Like if you're hoeing beans, you are hoeing beans and not thinking about your taxes or whether Gincarlo Stanton will finally play a full season for the Yankees.

This is the place where not even a needle can enter. It is a practice that is so close that no air can escape.

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