The only thing is – it is bound to happen – you will become a potato. For seven and a half hours sitting in your seat pushing all kinds of rubbish – ice cream, Coca Cola…keeping the fridge just within your reach – you will turn into a potato. Soon you will see the world full of potatoes.
Somebody suggested to me that the tomato would be far better. I said, “Why tomato? A potato is at least harder. If a tomato gets so much rubbish, it will burst out – it has a very thin skin – then from all over, somewhere ice cream is coming out, somewhere else Coca Cola is coming out. Tomatoes cannot manage it. Potatoes are harder people.”
A man doing zazen comes to the point of realizing that whatever is seen is phenomenal. It is made of just the same stuff as dreams are made of. Everything goes on changing. That is the Eastern definition of reality and unreality. The unreal is simply the one that changes.
You were a child, you have become a grown-up, you will become old. This is phenomenal, this is unreal. But there is something within you which never becomes anything other than itself. In your childhood it is the same, in your youth it is the same, in your old age it is the same, in your death it is the same. A man of meditation knows his eternal being, his immortal being. There is no deathbed for him.
While engaged in zazen, however, keep none of this counsel in mind…
He knows not even the abc of zazen. He is saying that while doing zazen you should not keep any part of what he has described in your mind. But a man who has experienced zazen simply knows that whatever comes in front of the eyes is just phenomenal. It comes and goes, just like clouds come and go, flowers come and go. Everything in the world except your being goes on moving into new forms.
To find yourself is to find the center of the cyclone. The whole world is a cyclone. But once you have found the center, the cyclone disappears. The mirror remains empty. This emptiness is buddhahood. This nothingness is the ultimate peak of consciousness.
I hope that this fellow forgets all that he has learned and begins to meditate. Knowledge, howsoever valuable, is useless in transforming you. Only your own experience, your own fire, can transform you. And you have the fire, everybody is born with it. You just have to turn yourself inwards.
I hope that Basui may have turned inwards by now. If not then he will have to come here. Because now, even in Japan, Zen has become just a scholarly study. Zen is not a scholarly study. Zen is an existential quantum leap. It is not of the mind. It is going beyond the mind.
Dogen, a Zen master, wrote: