There is nothing that I dislike

mirror, woman, portrait, black and white
“There is nothing I dislike.”

“These are the extraordinary words of the great teacher Linji; they are a lifetime koan for anyone who dares to take it on. Lifetime koans like this one never give up on you, luckily. ‘There is nothing I dislike’ is daring and fragrant and alive, and it is like this because it’s like this. ‘There is nothing I dislike’ rearranges us profoundly, when we offer ourselves to its energy, its scrutiny, its disturbance in us.

To take on ‘There is nothing I dislike,’ or to let it take you on, is to allow the koan to darken you. It will take you into dark places, and you’ll have to find yourself and recognize yourself there. This practice is not about tidying up the world and making it clean and bright; it’s about recognizing the world as it is and finding right there the radical freedom of being.

The alternative is a kind of carefully scaled-down life. One that is still extravagantly rich in detail and variety and shot through with beauty despite all our efforts, since we live on the blue-green planet, but a scaled-down view of what it was we really wanted while we were here, so very briefly.”

~ Susan Murphy, Upside-Down Zen

Joan Tollifson in her review of Murphy’s book Upside-Down Zen: “Susan Murphy is a Zen teacher (also a filmmaker, writer, and mother) in Australia. She writes exquisitely, and this book brings true Zen practice and insight vividly and richly to life (but you don’t have to be into formal Zen to appreciate and delight in her writing). She so beautifully captures the marriage of play and rigor, of commitment and letting go, of boundless eternity and the bones and breath of each unique and embodied moment. Subtle, passionate, wise, direct, and right to the heart of the matter. Very highly recommended.”

Quote Source: Thank you  Image from Black and White


  1. This is something really big! Wish I could think that way- there is nothing I dislike- always!
    By the way, it would be great if you read/review my short story Final Destination


  2. I learned this many years ago and have even raised my kids to u detestable that there is nothing we dislike. The more my children grew the harder the task to teach them…but the more it meant to me. Now they are grown – and my daughter is teaching her children this. Soon my son and his wife will have children. Hopefully his influence will be Afro g in their lives. I dislike nothin is the best way to truly be in love with the gift of life as human. Thank you for sharing David.


  3. I have to let this sink in…I want to be able to say this and mean it, at least to evolve to this..and yet, I’m not sure I can.


  4. says:



  5. I really, really like this. and, yes I had to read it a few times too! I’ll look her up, seeing she’s on my side of the world… deep thanks


  6. This is powerful stuff! I will definitely find a way to incorporate this concept into my life. Thank you for sharing!


  7. To accept this is to be on a long, difficult journey, but with joy at the end of it.


  8. Sorry. I can’t honestly say that. I don’t accept that just because that’s how the world is, that I have to like it (or at least not dislike it). What about serial child killers? Can I like that or not dislike that? I could list a lot of things, but maybe I’ve missed the point.


  9. Yes, I dislike genocide and all sorts of things. I like it as a first approach, to challenge our thinking and shake us. But I couldn’t hold onto it and I don’t think I would want to.


    • I’m not sure (no, I know) that I haven’t held onto it and certainly don’t know that I can. But I could certainly benefit with a move in this suggested direction. Aspirational in the highest order.


  10. Wow, this one’s ‘fragrant’ all right!


  11. It takes courage to say “There is nothing I dislike” and mean what you say. Likewise, hate is easy but love takes courage.


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