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Chapter 1: Meditation: The Breath of the Soul

A state of meditation is an innocent, silent state. You are blissfully unaware of your awareness. You are, but you are utterly relaxed. You are not in a state of sleep; you are fully alert, more alert than ever. Rather, you are alertness.

Dhyan is the greatest contribution of the East to the evolution of humanity.

Buddha himself never used Sanskrit. He used a language that was used by the masses of those days; he used Pali. In Pali, dhyan becomes jhan. When Buddha’s message reached China, jhan became chan. And when it traveled from China to Japan, it became zen. But it originates from dhyan. Dhyan means meditation, but the English word meditation does not have that flavor. It has a long association with contemplation. The English word meditation means meditating upon something; there is an object of meditation.

And in Zen there is no object at all, only pure subjectivity. You are aware, but not aware of something. There is nothing to be aware of; everything has disappeared. You are not even aware of nothingness, because then nothingness becomes your object, then nothingness becomes your thought. You are not aware of emptiness either. You are simply aware; there is no object to your awareness. The mirror is empty, reflecting nothing, because there is nothing to reflect.

You have to remember it, otherwise “meditation” can give you a wrong impression. Whenever the word meditation is used, immediately the question arises, “On what?” That question is irrelevant. If you are asking, “On what?” then you are asking what to think about, contemplate about, to concentrate on something - and that is not meditation.

Concentration is not meditation, concentration is an effort of the mind to focus itself. It has certain purposes of its own. It is a method in science - useful, but it is not meditation.

Contemplation is a little vague, more abstract. In concentration, the object is more visible; in contemplation, the object is abstract. You concentrate on a flame of light; you contemplate on love. And in Christianity, contemplation and meditation have become synonymous.

Meditation should be given a new meaning, a new fragrance - the fragrance of Zen. Concentration is of the mind, meditation is not of the mind at all, and contemplation is just in between, in a limbo. It is something of the mind and something of the no-mind, a mixture: a state where mind and no-mind meet, the boundary.

One has to reach to the absolute state of awareness: that is Zen. You cannot do it every morning for a few minutes or for half an hour and then forget all about it. It has to become like your heartbeat. You have to sit in it, you have to walk in it. Yes, you have even to sleep in it.

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