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Chapter 9: Zazen: Just Being

Gautam Buddha is perhaps the first revolutionary of the world who says: “The inner is not a person, the inner is only an eternal living space.” Perhaps he is the only man who has asserted the truth.

The man, the monk who was meditating, said:

“I don’t know what you are getting at.”
Sanzo said, “Why don’t you look at yourself,
and quieten yourself?”
The monk still looked blank.
Sanzo then asked him, “What school are you of?”

Sanzo seems to be an intellectual belonging to a certain school of philosophy, religion, theology. The monk’s silence is not understood.

“Jinshu’s.” said the monk
Sanzo said, Even the lowest heretics
in the India I come from
don’t fall as low as that!
Just to sit emptily and aimlessly
- what can it profit you?”

India could not understand Gautam Buddha for this simple reason: it thinks that to sit silently, just being, is worthless. You have to do something, you have to pray, you have to recite mantras, you have to go to some temple and worship a manmade god. “What are you doing sitting silently?”

And that is the greatest contribution of Gautam Buddha: that you can find your eternity and your cosmic being only if you can sit silently, aimlessly, without any desire and without any longing, just enjoying being - the silent space in which thousands of lotuses blossom.

Gautam Buddha is a category in himself. Very few people have understood him. Even in the countries where Buddhism is a national religion - Thailand, Japan, Taiwan - it has become an intellectual philosophy. Zazen, the original contribution of the man, has disappeared.

Perhaps you are the only people who are the closest contemporaries of Gautam Buddha. In this silence, in this emptiness, in this quantum leap from mind to no-mind, you have entered a different space which is neither outer nor inner but transcendental to both.

One day, Yakusan was doing zazen.
Sekito asked him, “What are you doing?”
“Not a thing,” replied Yakusan.
“Are not you sitting blankly?” said Sekito.
“If I were sitting blankly,
I would be doing something.”

Do you see the point? Do you understand this tremendous answer?

“If I were sitting blankly,
I would be doing something,” retorted Yakusan.
Sekito said, “Tell me,
what is that which you are not doing?”
Yakusan replied, “A thousand sages
could not answer that question.”

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