"All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him."
"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection."
Just think of the trees: they let the birds perch and fly, with no intention to call them when they come and no longing for their return when they fly away. If people's hearts can be like the trees, they will not be off the Way.
One single still light shines bright: if you intentionally pursue it, after all it's hard to see. Suddenly encountering it, people's hearts are opened up, and the great matter is clear and done. This is really living, without any fetters -- no amount of money could replace it. Even if a thousand sages should come, they would all appear in it's shadow.
The living meaning of Zen is beyond all notions. To realize it in a phrase is completely contrary to the subtle essence; we cannot avoid using words as expedients, though, but this has limitations. Needless to say, of course, random talk is useless. Nonetheless, the matter is not one-sided, so we temporarily set forth a path in the way of teaching, to deal with people.
1. Don't wish for perfect health. In perfect health, there is greed and wanting. So an ancient said, " Make good medicine from the suffering of sickness." 2. Don't hope for life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy ind. So an ancient once said, "Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this life". 3. Don't expect your practice to be clear of obstacles. Without hindrances the mind that seeks enlightenment may be burnt out. So an ancient once said, "Attain deliverance in disturbances".
The process of practice is to see through, not to eliminate, anything to which we are attached. We could have great financial wealth and be unattached to it, or we light have nothing and be very attached to having nothing. Usually, if we have seen through the nature of attachment, we will have a tendency to have few possessions, but not necessarily. Most practice gets caught in this area of fiddling with our environments or our minds. " My mind should be quiet". Our mind doesn't matter; what matters is non attachment to the activities of the mind. And our emotions are harmless unless they dominate us 9 that is, if we are attached to them)---then they create dis-harmony for everyone. The first problem in practice is to see that we are attached. As we do consistent, patient zazen we begin to know that we are nothing but attachments; they rule our lives. But we never lose an attachment by saying it has to go. Only as we gain true awareness of its true nature does it quietly and imperceptibly wither away; like a sandcastle with waves rolling over, it just smoothes out and finally Where is it? What was it?
The heart Sutra teaches that "form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. "Many people don't know what that means--even some long time students of meditation. But there is a very easy way to see this in our every day lives. For example, here is a wooden chair. It is brown. You sit in the chair, and it holds you up. You can place things on it. But then you light the chair on fire, then leave. When you come back later, the chair is no longer there! This thing that seemed so solid and string and real is now just a pile of cinder and ash which the wind blows around. This example shows how the chair is empty: It as no independent existence. Over a long or short time, the chair will eventually change and become something other than it appears. So, the brown chair is complete emptiness. But though it always has the quality of emptiness, this emptiness is form: you can sit in the chair, and it will hold you up. "Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form."
Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you....
I cannot tell if what the world considers 'happiness' is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness....
If I were a tree among trees, a cat among animals, this life would have a meaning, or rather this problem would not arise, for I should belong to this world. I should be this world to which I am now opposed by my whole consciousness and my whole insistence upon familiarity. This ridiculous reason is what sets me in opposition to all creation. I cannot cross it out with a stroke of a pen....
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.
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