True Dhyana


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 u
disturbed 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.

[FN#261] The Third Patriarch.

[FN#262] Hwui Yuen (E-gen).