Dhyan is, exactly, a non-judgmental state of mirror-like consciousness, just seeing and not saying anything. Then seeing becomes total. And in that seeing is the truth, is the good, is the beauty.
Because of this phenomenon, in the East there is no equivalent word for philosophy. In the East the word that has become equivalent is darshan, but darshan refers to a totally different dimension than philosophy. Philosophy means love of wisdom. It is love of knowledge. And darshan means just the opposite: not the love of wisdom or of knowledge, but of seeing. Darshan means seeing. Dhyan is the method, the path; and darshan, seeing the truth with your own eyes, is the goal of the whole Eastern effort.
What is zazen? Zen is, just once or twice a day…in the early morning when the sun is rising and the birds are singing, you sit silently by the side of the ocean or the river or the lake. It is not something that you have to do continuously. It is just like any other activity. You take your bath – that does not mean that for twenty-four hours you have to continue taking a shower. Zazen exactly means that: taking a shower continuously. Zen is a periodic effort to see the truth. Zazen is a twenty-four hour, around-the-clock remaining aware, alert, in the state beyond mind. Your activities should show it, your words should show it. Even your walking should show it – the grace, the beauty, the truth, the validity, the authority.
So zazen is an extension of Zen around the clock. Just because of zazen, monasteries came into existence. Because if you are living an ordinary life of a householder you cannot manage to contemplate, to be in the state of Zen twenty-four hours a day. You have to do many other things. And there is every possibility that while you are doing other things you may forget the undercurrent. So monasteries came into existence. The society decided that the people who want to go deeper into their being are doing such a great experiment for the whole humanity, because if even one man becomes a buddha, with him the whole humanity rises a little bit in consciousness.
It may not be apparent. It is just like when the Ganges…a big river, so big that by the time it reaches to meet the ocean its name, from Ganga, becomes Gangasagar, “the ocean of Ganges.” It becomes oceanic – so vast. As it moves into the ocean, the ocean certainly rises a little bit. The ocean is so vast that even hundreds and thousands of rivers never create a flood in the ocean, but certainly even a single dewdrop raises the level. At least you can comprehend it: a single dewdrop losing itself in the ocean, and the ocean is something more than it was before – one dewdrop more.