21: Be your natural self

任性合道     Be your natural self and you are in accord with the Way

逍遙絶惱     Calm and easy and untroubled

繋念乖眞     When thoughts are in bondage they stray from the truth

昏沈不好     Becoming clouded and unsound

不好勞神     When thoughts are unsound, the spirit is troubled

Lester Levenson: (1993)

We must, in our everyday lives, be in that state of tranquility, and until we can be in that state while in the details of daily living, we haven’t reached the top. So there are no two categories—the world and spirit; it’s all one and the same. It’s just a matter of the way we look at it. We should strive to get to the place where no one and no thing can perturb us. When you get to that state, you are at the top. You are in the world and nothing and no one can disturb you in the slightest. Develop this. Make this a practice. Make this your way of life. Do not react to people; do not become angry, envious, hateful and so forth. Remain ever the same, ever the same. No matter what happens, no matter what goes on, you really are ever the same, serene and poised. (“Worldliness and Spirituality”)

Bodhidharma:

The sage has patience with things and does not have patience with himself and with him there is no grasping and rejecting, disliking or liking. The stupid one has patience with himself and does not have patience with things, and with him there is grasping and rejecting, disliking and liking. If you can empty your mind, be unhurried and free and completely forget the world, this is having patience with things and going along with the times, which is easy. Opposing, resisting and changing things is difficult. If something wills to come, let it come and do not resist it; if it wills to depart, let it go and do not chase after it. Whatever you have done is past and not to be regretted. That which you have not yet done (or that which has not yet happened), let go of it and do not think of it. This is to be a practitioner of the Way. Having patience, one leaves the world to its own devices, and gain and loss do not arise from the self. If you have patience and do not oppose, if you let go and do not resist, where and when will you not roam in the remote?

Question: How does one quickly attain the Way?
Answer: Mind being the substance of the Way, one quickly attains the Way. When the practitioner himself realizes that delusion has arisen, then, relying on the Teaching, he gazes at it and causes it to vanish.

If the mind is attached to anything, that is bondage. The sutra says: “It is not through inferior, average or superior things that one attains Nirvana.” Even though the mind has entered delusion, do not push delusion away. Instead, when something arises from the mind, rely on the Teaching to gaze at the place from which it arises. If the mind discriminates, rely on the Teaching to gaze at the place of the discrimination. Whether greed, anger or ignorance arise, rely on the Teaching to gaze at the place from which they arise. To see that there is no place from which these can arise is to cultivate the Way. If there is anything arising from the mind, then investigate it, and relying on the Teaching, clean house! (Bodhidharma’s Method for Quieting the Mind)

Ma-tsu: (709-788)

THE ORDINARY MIND

The Tao does not require cultivation: just don’t pollute it. What is pollution? As long as you have a fluctuating mind fabricating artificialities and contrivances, all of this is pollution. If you want to understand the Tao directly, the ordinary mind is the Tao. What I mean by the ordinary mind is the mind without artificiality, without subjective judgments, without attachments or aversions.

THE TAO

Right this moment, as you walk, stand, sit, and lie down, responding to all situations and dealing with people—all of is the Tao. The Tao is the realm of reality. No matter how numerous are the uncountable, inconceivable functions, they are not beyond this realm. If they were, how could we speak of the teaching of the Mind-ground, and how could we speak of the inexhaustible lantern? (translated by Thomas Cleary, https://terebess.hu/english/mazu.html)

The Zen Teachings of Mazu translated by Thomas Cleary; Mondo taken from the book Sayings of the Ancient Worthies, translated by D.T. Suzuki. (https://terebess.hu/english/mazu.html#1)

Levenson, Lester (1993). Keys to the Ultimate Freedom: Thoughts and Talks on Personal Transformation. Phoenix, Arizona: Sedona Institute. ISBN 0-915721-03-1 (download)

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