Sokei-An

‘This mind that cherishes no notion is the mind of zazen. I don’t like to use “meditation.” It always carries with it the idea of something on which you meditate. Meditation does not express the exact meaning of Samadhi or Dhyana. There are many degrees of Samadhi – in the first you hold steady your mind movement, but observe its trend; in the second you free your mind movement, but observe its trend as you observe clouds passing through the sky; in the third you are indifferent to its movement; and in the fourth you will really find the ground of Zen practice. These four stages are all the Buddha taught – nothing but this.

The Buddha founded his religion upon Samadhi. His object of zazen was his own mind. He did not practice zazen upon any external object, upon thoughts or words or ideas. He practiced zazen simply upon mind – mind from which had been extracted every thought, every image, every concept. He paid no attention either to the outside or the inside. Perhaps we should say mind exercised zazen upon itself. In true Buddhist zazen, mind by itself is the meditator and is at the same time the object of the meditator’s zazen.

Rousing the mind in all circumstances lying outside of yourself so that there is no hindrance is “zen,” and “za” means “sitting upon.” You are sitting upon the universe in all circumstances. You are the master in every circumstance. This mind in zazen is extended to east, south, west and north. Then you find your mind close to yourself and find that center pervades though the universe. The spatial, timed, three-dimensional mind is molded in such a way, but in zazen the mind is molded in duration, which is a wonderful thing. This duration is not a line or a cord, but is expanding.’ (Holding the Lotus to the Rock)


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