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 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. Whatever has been done, move on and do not regret it. Events that have not yet arrived, let go of them 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?”

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 mind has something it is attached to, it 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. When thoughts arise, rely on the Teaching to gaze at the place whence it arises [i.e., who is it that has this thought?]. If mind discriminates, rely on the Teaching to gaze at the place of discrimination. Whether greed, anger or ignorance arise, rely on the Teaching to gaze at the place whence they arise. To not see any place whence these can arise is to cultivate the Way. If there is arising of the mind, then investigate it, and relying on the Teaching, clean house!” [i.e., do judge thoughts and feelings to be right or wrong, but bring them up and investigate them.] (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 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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