Chan or Zen is not devoid of theory. It is not a hollow shell in a vacuum. Rather, Chan is suffused with correct view of reality (samma ditthi) even though Chan transcends the orbit of conceptuality and language. No-mind (無心) is not anti-rationality.
Correct view (samma ditthi) is essential for the Path. The Buddha said as much. How so? The English translation “view” for “ditthi” denotes a purely cognitive or intellectual idea, a sort of conceptual knowledge of things. This conceptual aspect is certainly there but it does not fully capture the meaning and tone of “ditthi.” For the Pali term points to a feeling tone and embodied sense of the truth. In this case, it pertains to a feeling tone and an embodied sense of peacefulness, and conviction of freedom in relation to the Path. Correct view is thus a full-bodied clear understanding of the way things are and the way to practice.
Popular books on Chan/Zen make it look and sound like an anti-rational illegitimate spoilt brat of mainline Buddhism. It is anything but. Premature evacuation of concepts and words, reasoning and reflection, is not the epitome of Chan but a distorted imitation of the true Dharma. Let us be mindful of this and practice Chan accordingly.