No valid plans for the future
can be made by those
who have no capacity for living now.
– Alan Watts
The greater part of Zen literature consists of mondo, of brief dialogues between masters and pupils, which illustrate its peculiar method of instruction, pointing to the real now without interposing ideas and notions about it. Here, for example, is the way in which Zen deals with the problem of non-duality, concerning which Indian Buddhism has composed so many volumes of intricate explanation.
A monk asked Dosan, “How do we escape the heat when summer comes and the cold when winter is here?”
The master said, “Why not go where there is no summer, no winter?”
“Where is such a place?”
“When the cold season comes, one is thoroughly chilled; when the hot summer is here, one swelters.”
[Note: Be one with the physical environment without attachment and aversion and one will not be troubled by the environment. However, there is a limit to how much this can be done by the unenlightened, with people even dying from extreme heat and cold. Also, if the environment includes directly physical and spiritual life endangering elements, it will make sense to swiftly depart for safer refuge.]
As to escaping from Samsara, the world of opposites and everyday consciousness, to Nirvana, the realm of absolute unity and peace, Zen has this to say:
Bokuju was once asked, “We have to dress and eat every day, and how can we escape from all that?”
The master replied, “We dress; we eat.”
“I do not understand.”
“If you do not understand, put on your dress and eat your food.”
[Note: Be one with doing what you have to do and you will be free from it as a burden. The way to be one is with the doing itself, as practice, until the sense of it as a burden disappears. However, there are indeed many other tasks of everyday life taken for granted that are unnecessary burdens. Spiritual practice is also about cutting off the extraneous, that is clung to with delusional attachment.]
Zen: A Short Introduction with Illustrations by the Author
[excluding notes above]
Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!