“Followers of the Way, the Dharma of the Buddhas calls for no special undertakings. Just act ordinary, without trying to do anything particular. Move your bowels, piss, get dressed, eat your rice, and if you get tired, then lie down. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.”
– Linji Yixuan, 9th c. China
A Buddha is someone who finds freedom in good fortune and bad. Such is his power that karma can’t hold him. No matter what kind of karma, a Buddha transforms it. Heaven and hell are nothing to him. But the awareness of a mortal is dim compared to that of a Buddha, who penetrates everything, inside and out. – Bodhidharma
“I feel sorry that I cannot help you very much. But the way to study true Zen is not verbal. Just open yourself and give up everything. Whatever happens, whether you think it is good or bad, study closely and see what you find out. This is the fundamental attitude. Sometimes you will do things without much reason, like a child who draws pictures whether they are good or bad. If that is difficult for you, you are not actually ready to practice zazen.”
— Shunryu Suzuki, Not Always So
It’s really this simple: like unzipping a zipper.
When Daoxin (the 4th Patriarch) was 14 he traveled to see Sengkan, so named since his transformative encounter with Master Hui’ke.
Daoxin pleaded “I beg the master to have mercy. Please instruct me on how to achieve release.”
The master said “Is there someone who constrains you?”
Daoxin said “There is no such person.”
The master said “Why then seek release when you are constrained by no one?”
“Only hope to make empty that which exists.
Be careful not to make real that which does not exist.”
-Shōbōgenzō, Case 16
Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.
-Ikkyū, 15th c. Japan