The old saying: “Sutras are the Buddha's words, Zen is the Buddha's mind.” We all have the Buddha's mind but because of limitless deluded thoughts and attachments filled with greed and disturbances encompass and obstruct our true mind.
For instance, if we don't have deluded thoughts, then we would realize that our true mind has always been automatically contemplating, purifying and emanating.
There are those initiate a mind of clinging to equanimity and, thus, create the deluded thought of “equanimity”. In essence, the deluded thought never has an origin. Those cling to the deluded thought of “equanimity” has already created for themselves the “equanimity form” and entangled themselves in that “equanimity form”. Realistically, the true nature of equanimity does not have form.
The true meaning of Zen is:
- On the external: While being surrounded by forms yet able to cast aside all forms, then that is called Zen. In other words, if the external is clinging to forms, then the mind is disturbed; if the external casts aside all forms, then the mind is not disturbed.
- On the internal: Being amidst thoughts and able to cast aside all thoughts, then that is called Zen. In other words, if the internal is not agitated and undisturbed, then it is tranquil or the true nature has automatically been contemplating and purifying. It is just because we see things and cling to things, and thus, disturbance arises. On the other hand, if we see all things and yet the mind remains undisturbed, then that is “true equanimity”. Equanimity is not equate to the not-thinking and not-speaking of things nor refraining from letting thoughts arise. If anyone falls into this type of situation and clings to the idea that Zen equates to saying nothing at all, then it is certainly a disturbing perception. There are those tend to cling to the external forms, and so, the mind is disturbed by many thoughts and things from the profound to the minute. With such continuous attachment to the many different forms, we bury ourselves among those unreal, impermanent things and, thus, we always remain in the relativity of duality: have and have not, good and bad, tall and short, real and unreal, etc..
- Generally speaking from the shallow to the profoundness of Zen, we practice Zen to calm our mind, our thought, and hence, our mind is lessened in tension and disturbance. This does not mean that all thoughts come to a cease or all deluded thoughts and feelings are eradicated. When deeply meditating in order to attain enlightenment, we use methods such as, the contemplation of the breath, the koans, the before-thought-formation (hu'a tou), etc.. We can be independent, that is, no longer plunge ourselves into sufferings and no longer cling to the ordinary physical love, in order to surpass all hindrance and progress toward the true, the goodness, the beauty, the perfect wisdom.
Truly speaking, Zen is not a religion, a Dharma method, a philosophy opened for debate nor anything that people label as. Zen itself surpasses all those unrealistic resources. We only need to just apply and practice it right here and now in our daily lives, such as eating, sleeping, working, etc.. Automatically, there is no need to look elsewhere or any further; it will affect you profoundly and gradually to the entirety of the true enlightenment and liberation that are fundamentally within us.Venerable Thanh Tinh LienThich Nu Chan Thien