The second thorn.

Self-inquiry is the second thorn.

If you have a thorn in your foot, the simplest way to remove it, is to use a second thorn.

The first thorn is ignorance. The second thorn is self-inquiry, contemplation of the question “who am I?”

“If a thorn goes in your foot, you might use a second thorn to remove the first thorn. And then you throw both thorns away.”

— Traditional saying, based on the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, India.

On attainment of direct realisation of one’s True Nature, or God Self, one can throw both thorns away.

Kõan practice is a second thorn. This is how I discovered self-inquiry. Because the first kõan I received from my former Zen Master, as a trainee Zen teacher, was “who am I?”

From the moment this question came into my life, there could be no other kõan. I recognised instantly that this was the only kõan I could ever need.

By using the mind, to remove the mind.

Such an undoing.

The second thorn. You need it. Even if you haven’t realised yet that the first thorn is there, trust me when I tell you that you need it.

Your suffering. That’s the first thorn.

Discover more about self-inquiry, and you will discover all you need to know about yourself.

Picture the relief of removing a thorn from your foot…