Out of his understanding his actions are natural – his laughter is natural, his smile is natural, his whole life is natural. Your whole life is artificial, arbitrary. You are always trying to do something which is not really there. You are trying to love. Now, trying to love is to start in a wrong way from the very beginning. You are trying to be happy. How can you be happy? It is not a question of trying. You are making all kinds of efforts to be graceful. Now, grace is not an effort; if there is effort, there is no grace. Grace is an effortless beauty. The really graceful person knows no effort.
Those who understand always act naturally. Most men live in impermanence, the unreal, but the man of Zen lives in the real.
You live in the phony, in the unreal, and when you come across a man of Zen – remember the man of Zen means the man of meditation – then there is a problem for you. Never try to understand the man of Zen according to your ideas; they are irrelevant. You can understand the man of Zen only through meditation. Learn the art of meditation, of being here and now – not for peace, not for bliss, not for anything. Effort without goal… That’s what meditation is: effort without goal.
Now, you only know effort when there is goal. Otherwise you will ask, “This is illogical – effort without goal? Then why should we make an effort?” You have been making efforts for goals – what have you attained? It is time to try something else. Enough is enough.
Effort without goal is quite different –
Quite different from all that you have done up to now.
It opens the door of truth which leads to the garden of Tathagata.
The word tathagata comes from the same word I used just a few moments ago: tathata. Buddha says, “I am peaceful because this is my suchness, my tathata.” Ask him anything and he always says, “This is my nature, my tathata.” Slowly, slowly it became known to his disciples that tathata is his most important word, his key word. Hence he is called tathagata: one who lives in suchness, one who lives now and knows no other time, one who lives here and knows no other space.
If you can also be here and now,
It opens the door of truth which leads to the garden of Tathagata. A true student of Zen ignores the branches and the leaves, and aims for the root.