Some monks were sitting quietly in the garden of a Buddhist monastery on a calm, beautiful day. The prayer flag on the roof started fluttering and flapping in a breeze. A young monk observed: “Flag is flapping.” Another monk said: “Wind is flapping the flag.” The Chan master Hui-neng (whom Southern School Chan regards as 6th Patriarch), overhearing the two monks talking, declared: “It is your minds that are flapping.” Centuries later another famous Chan monk, Wu-men Hui-k’ai (1183-1260), commented on this episode: “Flag, wind, minds flapping. Several mouths were flapping!”
Here’s an easy peasy way to practice peace by numbers! Zen Master Seung Sahn simplifies this technique so that the child in us can understand. A brilliant little except from: Wanting Enlightenment is a Big Mistake.
A student at the New Haven Zen Center once asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, “You say that one must return to the mind of a child. Also Jesus talks like this. Then what is the role of intelligence in spirituality? What is the role of intelligence in understanding Zen?”
“What do you want, right now?” Zen Master Seung Sahn replied.
“I want peace and quiet.”
“Peace? What is peace?”
“No turbulence. No movement, I guess.”
“Yah, that’s not bad,” Zen Master Seung Sahn said. “Peace is a very good word. But what exactly does it mean? What is true peace?
“Sometimes we use calculators. If there is already a number on the screen, you cannot make another calculation with the calculator. The answer will not come out right. So this is why there is a button marked ‘C’. If you push ‘C’, the screen becomes clear: it returns to zero. Then any kind of calculation is possible.
“If you keep a clear mind, then you will get happiness everywhere. This is complete peace, like a child’s mind, holding nothing whatsoever. So always just push ‘C.’ If your mind is angry, push ‘C,’ and it will become clear. If your mind is sad, push ‘C’, and your mind will become clear. Don’t-know mind is push-‘C’ mind. If you have a lot of thinking, only go straight, don’t know; then your thinking will disappear.
“But when you do not return to ‘zero’ mind, from moment to moment, you cannot see this universe as it is. If you are thinking, then even if a mountain appears before you, you do not see this mountain; you only see your suffering thinking. If you keep a sad mind, and hold your sad mind, then even if a beautiful view appears, you cannot perceive it. You are only following your thinking. So you lose this world, from moment to moment. I always say, ‘When you are thinking, you lose your eyes.’ You have eyes, but when you look at something with a mind full of thinking, you do not see that thing. Also, you do not hear completely, smell completely, taste completely, or feel completely. It is like a calculator where the numbers stay stuck on the screen: you cannot do any new calculations. This is why Zen teaches that you must return to your original mind, from moment to moment. This is pushing ‘C’. We call this ‘only don’t know.’ Continue reading
“You are the world… without you, there is no world. You must understand the
whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why
you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems
and suffer and understand, for all that is life.” — Jiddu Krishnamurti
This is one way of understanding the statement: that the individual is the only
reality. And the world is nothing but the collectivity of individuals, so whatever it
is, it is a contribution of individuals. If it is ugly, you have contributed to its
ugliness. If it is full of hate, jealousy, anger, greed, ambition, you have contributed
to this whole hell in which we are living. You cannot throw the responsibility on
somebody else; you have to accept the responsibility on your own shoulders.
J. Krishnamurti’s statement that “You are the world” simply emphasizes the fact
that every individual, wherever he is, whatever he is, should accept the
responsibility of creating this world that exists around us. If it is insane, you have
contributed to that insanity in your own way. If it is sick, you are also a partner in
making it sick. And the emphasis is important – because unless you understand
that “I am also responsible for this miserable and insane world,” there is no
possibility of change. Who is going to change? Everybody thinks somebody else
is responsible. Continue reading