Chapter 1: The Significance of Zen
A seed is an introversion. Try to understand the phenomenon of the seed, what a seed is. A seed is not outgoing, a seed has really turned upon itself. A seed is an introvert phenomenon, it is centripetal - the energy is moving inwards. That’s why it is a seed, covered and closed from the outer world completely. In fact a seed is the loneliest, most isolated thing in the world. It has no roots in the soil, no branches in the sky; it has no connection with the earth, no connection with the sky. In fact it has no relationships around it. A seed is an absolute island, isolated, caved in. It does not relate. It has a hard shell around it, there are no windows, no doors; it cannot go out and nothing can come in.
Seed is natural to India. The genius of India can produce seeds of tremendous potentiality, but cannot give them soil. India is an introverted consciousness.
India says the outer doesn’t exist and even if it exists it is of the same stuff that dreams are made of. The whole genius of India has been trying to discover how to escape from the outer, how to move to the inner cave of the heart, how to be centered in oneself, and how to come to realize that the whole world that exists outside consciousness is just a dream - at the most beautiful, at the worst a nightmare; whether beautiful or ugly, in reality, it is a dream, and one should not bother much about it. One should awake, and forget the whole dream of the outer world.
The whole effort of Buddha, Mahavira, Tilopa, Gorakh, Kabir, their whole effort through the centuries, has been how to escape from the wheel of life and death: how to enclose yourself, how to completely cut yourself from all relationships, how to be unrelated, detached, how to move in and to forget the outer. That’s why Zen was born in India.
Zen means dhyan. Zen is a Japanese change of the word dhyan. Dhyan is the whole effort of Indian consciousness. Dhyan means to be so alone, so into your own being, that not even a single thought exists. In fact, in English, there is no direct translation.
Contemplation is not the word. Contemplation means thinking, reflection. Even meditation is not the word because meditation involves an object to meditate upon; it means something is there. You can meditate on Christ, or you can meditate on the cross. But dhyan means to be so alone that there is nothing to meditate upon. No object, just simple subjectivity exists - consciousness without clouds, a pure sky.
When the word reached China it became ch’an. When ch’an reached Japan, it became Zen. It comes from the same Sanskrit root, dhyan.