Chapter 3: Power
When you are doing something, mind is nourished. When you are not doing anything, mind starts dying. Mind is almost like a bicycle. If you go on pedaling, the bicycle goes on moving. If you stop pedaling, it may go a few feet because of the old momentum, but finally it has to fall. Mind needs continuous doing. Do something.that is the pedaling that keeps the mind going on.
This school of “silent illumination” Ch’an, which Ta Hui speaks continually against, is of a far higher quality than Ta Hui can understand. These people simply sit silently. They don’t do anything - good or bad. They simply don’t do anything. If somebody offers food they can take it; if nobody offers food they remain hungry, but they don’t do anything for it.
And existence is so compassionate that if a certain person is simply sitting silently, he creates a field of silence around him. Somebody is bound to be attracted towards him. No “silent illumination” Ch’an adept has died of hunger or cold. Somebody has come to cover him, somebody has brought some food, somebody has brought water. Not even a single man of that lineage has died.and they have attained to the highest peak of illumination.
It seems Ta Hui feels a certain jealously that these people don’t do anything and still they are worshipped. These people don’t do anything; still they are thought to be living buddhas. His own leanings are for moral works, good works, service to the people. He is an intellectual. But it seems before he died he became tired of his intellectual approach, because he had not gained anything.
At the last moment of his life, he must have realized that he had wasted his life unnecessarily wandering in a desert where nothing grows. This realization, in a single moment, changed his whole character, his whole being. His whole life he was only a teacher, but he died as a master. If he had lived a little more, perhaps he would have asked forgiveness from the people who belong to the “silent illumination” ch’an. We don’t know. Perhaps inside his own being he must have asked for forgiveness.
But he seems to be jealous because he is teaching, he is doing good, he is serving people; he is moving from town to town bringing people to the feet of Gautam Buddha, and these people don’t worship Buddha. They don’t even chant Buddha’s name. They simply sit silently. They don’t have any records because they don’t say anything. Their whole being is their statement. They are themselves buddhas. Why should they chant the name of Buddha, why should they worship Buddha, why should they go to the Buddha’s temple?
My own sympathy is not with Ta Hui. My own sympathy is with those “silent illumination” Ch’an people. They are the very salt of the earth.