“To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.”
-Michel de Montaigne; Complete Essays, Chapter XIX
“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
“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
Slender, so slender
its stalk bends under dew —
little yellow flower.
-Matsuo Bashō, 17th c. Japan