What is the use of catching a dream, an illusion, a flower in the sky? There is, followers of the way, only the one who is now present here and is listening to my expounding of the dharma….
All troubles exist because you are mindful of them; if you are mindless of them, how can they hold you? If you do not take the trouble to differentiate and grasp appearances, you will realize Tao in an instant. If you follow others, and succeed in learning something by keeping yourselves busy with your studies, you will finally return to the realm of birth and death. It is far better to make yourselves unconcerned, and go to some monastery where you can sit cross-legged on the corner of a meditation bed.
Make no mistake: there is no dharma externally, and there is nothing that can be found internally. Do not grasp this mountain monk’s verbal words, for it is far better to put an end to all karmas and go on unconcerned. Do not allow thoughts that have arisen in your minds to go on uninterrupted, and do not allow thoughts that have not yet arisen to rise. This is much better than your ten years of journeying to call on learned teachers.
According to this mountain monk’s view, there are not so many things; suffice it to be ordinary and to go on unconcerned, wearing your robe and eating your rice….
There are bald-headed and blind monks who, after satisfying their hunger, immediately sit in meditation to look into their mental activities and arrest their thoughts so that the latter cannot arise again. These people hate disturbance and seek quiet; this is the way of the heretics.
The patriarch said, “Those who set their minds on looking into quietness, apply them on contemplating externals, and keep them under control to quiet and freeze them in order to enter samadhi, are all in the state of mental activity.”
Maneesha, there are three words to be understood perfectly well before you can understand what Rinzai is saying. He is talking about the fourth word.
The three words that he is not talking about are concentration, contemplation, and meditation.
In English there is no word for the fourth state of your consciousness, so unfortunately we have to translate that fourth word into the third – meditation. But it is not accurate, and it is dangerous. But if you understand that it is just to indicate something which is not contained in the English word itself, then there is no problem.
The fourth word is dhyana, which became ch’an in China and in Japan it became zen.
Concentration means you put all your thoughts on one object. It is a perfectly valid means for any scientific research.
The second word, contemplation, means to allow your mind to move only on a certain object. In a way it includes concentration, but in another way it gives you a little more rope. For example, you are contemplating on love, its meanings, its implications…. Contemplation is the method of philosophy.
Meditation, in English, simply means a far more deep concentration. The first concentration is superficial: you just stay on the surface, you touch the circumference. In meditation you go to the very center of the object. But remember, all are object-oriented.
The fourth word, zen, is introverted. It is going in; it is non-objective. It is neither scientific nor philosophical; it covers a totally different area. It means not to know the object but to experience the subject.
Closing yourself in and finding the center of your life and consciousness is the goal of Zen.
Unfortunately, nothing like Zen ever developed in the West. And because the experience never developed there was no need for any word for it. Words are needed only when there are experiences to be expressed. In the East, concentration, contemplation and meditation are all mental activities.
Zen is going beyond the mind, where no object exists. And remember, the moment the object is no more there, you cannot maintain the subject; they are two sides of the same coin. On the outside the object drops, on the inside the subject disappears, and then what remains is that spotless cleanness, that silence out of which everything arises and disappears. That is dhyan in Sanskrit, jhan in Pali, ch’an in Chinese and zen in Japanese.