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



The sage lets events be and does not let himself be, and so he has no grasping and rejecting, no disapproving or approving. The ignorant one lets himself be and does not let events be, and so he has grasping and rejecting, disapproving and approving. If you can empty the mind, be unhurried and free, and completely let go of the world, then you are one who lets events be and goes with the flow. Letting events be and going with the flow is easy, while opposing, resisting, and changing things is difficult. When events will to come, let them be; do not go against them. If they will to depart, let them go; do not pursue them. What has been done, move past it and do not regret it. Events that have not yet arrived, let them go and do not think about them. This is the person who is walking the path. If you can let events be, then you leave the world to its own devices. Gain and loss do not come from oneself. If you allow events to happen and do not resist, if you relax and do not oppose them, where and when will you not roam in the beyond?” (Bodhidharma’s Method for Quieting the Mind)

Ma-tsu: (709-788)


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.


Right this moment, as you walk, stand, sit, and recline, responding to all situations and dealing with people–all 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)

Baso (Ma-tsu): (translated by D. T. Suzuki)

“The Sravaka is enlightened and yet going astray; the ordinary man is out of the right path and yet in a way enlightened. The Sravaka fails to perceive that Mind as it is in itself knows no stages, no causation, no ideation. Disciplining himself in the cause he has attained the result and abides in the Samadhi of Emptiness itself for ever so many kalpas. However enlightened in his way, the Sravaka is not at all on the right track. From the point of view of the Bodhisattva, this is like suffering the torture of hell. The Sravaka has buried himself in emptiness and does not know how to get out of his quiet contemplation, for he has no insight into the Buddha-nature itself.

“If a man is of superior character [te] and intelligence he will, under the instruction of a wise teacher, at once see into the essence of the thing and understand that this is not a matter of stages and processes. He has an instant insight into his own original nature. So we read in the Sutra that ordinary beings can transform their thoughts but the Sravaka knows no such transformation.

“Going astray stands in contrast to becoming enlightened; but if there is no going astray at the beginning there is no becoming enlightened either. All beings since the beginningless past have never been outside the Dharma-essence itself. Abiding forever in the midst of the Dharma-essence, they eat, they get dressed, they talk, they respond; all the functioning of the six senses, all their doings are of the Dharma-essence itself. When they fail to understand to go back to the Source, they follow names, pursue forms, allow confusing imaginations to rise and cultivate all kinds of karma. Let them once, in one thought, return to the Source and their entire being will be of Buddha-mind.

“O monks, let each of you see into his own mind. Do not memorize what I tell you. However eloquently I may talk about all kinds of things as innumerable as the sands of the Ganges, the mind shows no increase; even when no talk is possible, the mind shows no decrease. You may talk ever so much about it, and it is still your own mind; you may not at all talk about it, and it is just the same your own mind. You may divide your body into so many forms, and, emitting rays of supernatural light, perform the eighteen miracles, yet what you have gained is after all no more than your own dead ashes.

“The dead ashes thoroughly wet have no vitality and are like the Sravaka’s disciplining himself in the cause in order to attain its result. The dead ashes not yet wet are full of vitality and are like the Bodhisattva, whose life in the Tao is pure and not the least bit tainted by evils. If I begin to talk about the various teachings given out by the Tathagata there will be no end, though I go on for ages. They are like an endless series of chains. But once you have an insight into the Buddha-mind, there is nothing more you can gain from the teachings.”


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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s