Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Plateaux of Mirrors

To study the path you should step back and study with your whole being. Make birth and death your only thought. The worldly truth is impermanent, this body is not everlasting. Once you stop breathing, then it's already another lifetime. In another birth you may sink into a nonhuman species, and then you might go on for thousand years of lifetimes through countless ages without emerging.

Luckily, at present you still have plenty of time. Now is the time to apply effort to turn toward the Path every moment, without your mind wavering or your attention faltering. Catch sight of it right where you are. When you reach the point where not a single thought is born and befor and after are cut off, you will suddenly penetrate through to freedom. It's like the bottom falling out of a bucket. Then you experience joy.

You investigate into the ultimate depths until you walk in the scenery of the fundamental ground and clearly the original face. Then you will have no more doubts about what the Zen masters have said. You will be able to cut everything off and hold everything still, nurturing it by having no conditioned mind and no contrived effort and no particular concerns. Then twenty-four hours a day, there will be no more wasted effort. Your mind does not touch upon things and your steps are beyond location.

At this point you are a true Zen monk who has understood things and completed the work. You do not aim to get famous or play false to grasp a profit. You stand like a wall miles high---impeccable, "each drop of water a drop of ice." You work on your own mission of getting beyond birth and death and pay no attention to anything else. Not disturbing anything in the realm of sound and form, not startling the everyday people, you go freely into independent liberation and become a true saint who has gone beyond the dusts.

You must have faith and put it into practice.

Zen Letters
Classics of Buddhism and Zen
Thomas Cleary

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