So first she thought that it may be a metaphor, which obviously will come to the Western mind. But a metaphor also has to have some meaning. It must indicate toward something; it must be a metaphor for something, a representative, a pointer. But what meaning is there? Looked at from an attitude which is searching for meaning, the haiku is meaningless. It is an experience. And it actually describes everything that happens to consciousness just in those few words.
And that is the beauty of haiku. It uses the minimal amount of words. You cannot take a single word out of it, it has been already taken: only the most essential has been left.
“Sitting silently” – there are two words. It starts with sitting, it starts with the body. If the body can sit restfully, relaxedly, it helps immensely for the mind to become silent. If the body is restless, tense, then the mind cannot be silent. So the haiku is starting from the very foundation: “sitting” simply means relaxed, restful, at ease, at home, no tensions.
You see the millions of statues of Buddha all over Asia – and Buddha himself has said before he died: “Don’t make a statue of me.” For almost three hundred years the disciples, generation after generation, resisted the temptation. But as the physical presence of Buddha became far away – four hundred years, five hundred years – the temptation to have at least a marble statue in the same sitting posture as Buddha…. It does not matter whether it is a photographic representation or not: that is irrelevant. What matters is that it will help you: give inspiration, understanding, of how to sit.
And for that, the marble statue is even better than a real Buddha, because it is completely relaxed – no tensions, no movement. And they gave it such a proportion, such beauty, such aesthetic sensibility, that if you sit by the side of a Buddha statue you would like to sit in the same way. And the miracle you will feel is that as you start sitting in the same way, the mind starts settling…as if the evening has come and the birds are coming back to their homes, to their trees. Soon it will be night and all the birds will have settled in their nests, fallen asleep.
And if you are fortunate to be in the presence of a living, awakened being, his restful body will create a synchronicity with your bodies, because it is of the same matter. All bodies are made of the same matter and function on the same wavelength.
If the sitting is right, silence descends on you as the evening comes, and then all becomes dark.
“Sitting silently….” The second thing is the mind. The body should be non-tense and the mind should be without any thought.
“Sitting silently, doing nothing….” This is very significant to understand. Even the idea that you are doing meditation is a disturbance, because every “doing” makes the mind active. Mind can remain passive only when you are in a state of non-doing, doing nothing.