‘By keeping mindful of the matter of birth and death, your mental technique is already correct. Once the mental technique is correct, then you won’t need to use effort to clear your mind as you respond to circumstances in your daily activities. When you don’t actively try to clear out your mind, then you won’t go wrong; since you don’t go wrong, correct mindfulness stands out alone. When correct mindfulness stands out alone, inner truth adapts to phenomena; when inner truth adapts to events and things, events and things come to fuse with their inner truth. When phenomena fuse with their inner truth, you save power; when you feel the saving, this is the empowerment of studying the Path. In gaining power you save unlimited power; in saving power you gain unlimited power.’ (Swampland Flowers)
It was interesting to follow up my reading of Hongzhi with this book, as they both come from the place of simple understanding. Ta Hui’s explanations are a little more prosaic than the evocative poetry of Hongzhi, but I love the image of saving power, especially as it translates to this day and age. When a student recently asked me how the Genjo Koan could help him in his everyday life, one of the images that came up was that it makes us more energy efficient: when you focus on what is, rather than what was, what should be, what might be, and what we are afraid of happening, you don’t need to expend so much mental energy; this can be a virtuous circle, just as Ta Hui lays out here.