To sit in Meditation is not the only method of practising Zazen. We
practise Dhyana in sitting, in standing, and in walking, says one of
the Japanese Zenists. Lin Tsi (Rin-Zai) also says: To concentrate
one's mind, or to dislike noisy places, and seek only for stillness,
is the characteristic of heterodox Dhyana. It is easy to keep
self-possession in a place of tranquillity, yet it is by no means
easy to keep mind undisturbed amid the bivouac of actual life. It is
true Dhyana that makes our mind sunny while the storms of strife rage
around us. It is true Dhyana that secures the harmony of heart,
while the surges of struggle toss us violently. It is true Dhyana
that makes us bloom and smile, while the winter of life covets us
with frost and snow.
Idle thoughts come and go over unenlightened minds six hundred and
fifty times in a snap of one's fingers, writes an Indian
teacher,[FN#260] and thirteen hundred million times every
twenty-four hours. This might be an exaggeration, yet we cannot but
acknowledge that one idle thought after another ceaselessly bubbles
up in the stream of consciousness. Dhyana is the letting go,
continues the writer--that is to say, the letting go of the thirteen
hundred million of idle thoughts. The very root of these thirteen
hundred million idle thoughts is an illusion about one's self. He is
indeed the poorest creature, even if he be in heaven, who thinks
himself poor. On the contrary, he is an angel who thinks himself
hopeful and happy, even though he be in hell. Pray deliver me,
said a sinner to Sang Tsung (So-san).[FN#261] Who ties you up? was
the reply. You tie yourself up day and night with the fine thread of
idle thoughts, and build a cocoon of environment from which you have
no way of escape. 'There is no rope, yet you imagine yourself
bound.' Who could put fetters on your mind but your mind itself?
Who could chain your will but your own will? Who could blind your
spiritual eyes, unless you yourself shut them up? Who could prevent
you from enjoying moral food, unless you yourself refuse to eat?
There are many, said Sueh Fung (Sep-po) on one occasion, who
starve in spite of their sitting in a large basket full of victuals.
There are many who thirst in spite of seating themselves on the shore
of a sea. Yes, Sir, replied Huen Sha (Gen-sha), there are many
who starve in spite of putting their heads into the basket full of
victuals. There are many who thirst in spite of putting their heads
into the waters of the sea.[FN#262] Who could cheer him up who
abandons himself to self-created misery? Who could save him who
denies his own salvation?
[FN#260] The introduction to Anapana-sutra by Khin San Hwui, who
came to China A.D. 241.