Ride your horse along the edge of a sword; hide yourself in the middle of the flames.
The obstacle is the path.
Emptiness which is conceptually liable to be mistaken for sheer nothingness is in fact the reservoir of infinite possibilities.
Indeterminacy means, literally: not fixed, not settled, uncertain, indefinite. It means that you don’t know where you are. How can it be otherwise, say the Buddhist teachings, since you have no fixed or inherent identity and are ceaselessly in process?
…Life is filled with uncertainty. Chance events happen to us all. Each of us must take responsibility and make decisions. None of us should be imposing our ego image on others.
…there’s another way to live. Accept indeterminacy as a principle, and you see your life in a new light, as a series of seemingly unrelated jewel-like stories within a dazzling setting of change and transformation. Recognize that you don’t know where you stand, and you will begin to watch where you put your feet. That’s when the path appears.
Kay Larson, Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists, The Penguin Press, New York, 2012, p. 19-20
The Zen disciple sits for long hours silent and motionless. Presently he enters a state of impassivity, free from all ideas and all thoughts. He departs from the self and enters the realm of nothingness. This is not the nothingness or the emptiness of the West. It is rather the reverse, a universe of the spirit in which everything communicates freely with everything, transcending bounds, limitless. There are of course masters of Zen, and the disciple is brought toward enlightenment by exchanging questions and answers with his master, and he studies the scriptures. The disciple must, however, always be lord of his own thoughts, and must attain enlightenment through his own efforts. And the emphasis is less upon reason and argument than upon intuition, immediate feeling. Enlightenment comes not from teaching but through the eye awakened inwardly. Truth is in the discarding of words, it lies outside words.
Mizue Hasegawa practices the ancient art of kyudo at Soto Mission of Hawaii in Nuuanu. Hasegawa, president and sensei of local archery club Hawaii Kyudo Kai, says it’s the oldest martial art in Japan, one with deep philosophical roots. “We focus on three main goals: shin, the truth, zen, the goodness, and bi, the beauty,” she explains. “If you have all three, the arrow should go through the target. But hitting the target is not our main objective.” Hawaii Kyudo Kai’s 15 members hone their skills every Sunday
The obstacle is the path
In fact, the truth of Zen is the truth of life, and life means to live, to move, to act; not merely to reflect.”
― D.T. Suzuki
“Zazen ([Zen [sitting] meditation]) is not “step-by-step meditation”. Rather it is simply the easy and pleasant practice of a Buddha, the realization of the Buddha’s Wisdom. The Truth appears, there being no delusion. If you understand this, you are completely free, like a dragon that has obtained water or a tiger that reclines on a mountain. The supreme Law will then appear of itself, and you will be free of weariness and confusion.”
If I was asked to get rid of the Zen aesthetic and just keep one quality necessary to create art, I would say it’s trust. When you learn to trust yourself implicitly, you no longer need to prove something through your art. You simply allow it to come out, to be as it is. This is when creating art becomes effortless. It happens just as you grow your hair. It grows.
Most people insist on some idea. Recently the younger generation talks about love. Love! Love! Love! Their minds are full of love! And when they study Zen, if what I say does not accord with the idea they have of love, they will not accept it. They are quite stubborn, you know. You may be amazed! Of course, not all, but some have a very, very hard attitude. That is not naturalness at all. Even though they talk about love, and freedom, or naturalness, they do not understand these things. And they cannot understand what Zen is in that way. If you want to study Zen, you should forget all your previous ideas and just practice zazen and see what kind of experience you have in your practice. That is naturalness.
The meaning of the wonderful Zen saying “Every day is a good day” is that they come one after another, and yet there is only this one. You don’t link them. This, as I intimated just a moment ago, seems to be an atomization of life. Things just do what they do. The flower goes puff, and people go this way and that way, and so on, and that is what is happening. It has no meaning, no destination, no value. It is just like that. When you see that, you see it’s a great relief. That is all it is. Then, when you are firmly established in suchness, and it is just this moment, you can begin again to play with the connections, only you have seen through them. Now they don’t haunt you, because you know that there isn’t any continuous you running on from moment to moment who originated sometime in the past and will die sometime in the future. All that has disappeared. So, you can have enormous fun anticipating the future, remembering the past, and playing all kinds of continuities. This is the meaning of that famous Zen saying about mountains: “To the naive man, mountains are mountains, waters are waters. To the intermediate student, mountains are no longer mountains, waters are no longer waters.” In other words, they have dissolved into the point instant, the tshana. “But for the fully perfected student, mountains are again mountains and waters are again waters.
The Real is not bound by time or space.
Nothing defines it as large or small.
A single thought spins ten thousand years.
The thought of ten thousand years
occur in a single moment.