The artist was really very poor. I want you to be really rich. There is only one richness, and that richness is hidden deep, very deep inside you. It is beyond the reach of your thought, of your reason; it is available only to those who can be utterly silent. Once you have got it, the very Kingdom of God is yours. Then whatever comes out of it has a beauty, a blissfulness, an ecstasy.
The beginning of all art:
a song when planting a rice-field
in the country’s inmost part.
It does not matter what you are doing; what matters is: Is the inner space silent? Then even planting seeds in a field, you yourself become a song, you yourself become a dance.
Basho also wrote:
“…All who have achieved real excellence in any art,
possess one thing in common, that is, a mind to obey nature,
to be one with nature, throughout the four seasons of the year.
Whatever such a mind sees is a flower,
and whatever such a mind dreams of is the moon.
It is only a barbarous mind that sees other than the flower,
merely an animal mind that dreams of other than the moon.”
Our so-called mind is almost four million years old. It has passed through very dark nights, when there was no fire, no clothes, no houses; it has lived for millions of years in constant danger. That has made it aggressive, afraid, defensive, always being afraid of the dark night, of the wild animals. The mind carries those four million years of darkness, the fear of death; hence it is afraid, although the situation has changed. Now there are no wild animals except you, but the mind knows nothing of the present; it carries only the past.
If you want to know the universe and its mystery, you have to take a jump out of the mind.
Mind set free in the dharma realm,
I sit at the moon-filled window
Watching the mountains with my ears,
Hearing the stream with my open eyes.
Each molecule preaches perfect law,
Each moment chants true sutra:
The most fleeting thought is timeless.
A single hair is enough to stir the sea.
And Gotsuan wrote:
With no-mind I have enjoyed my stay,
With mind I return to So, my homeland.
Whether in mind or not,
I am content en route to heaven.