illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
If you sit in zazen, you are Enlightened.
This is not a call for inaction, as in: "as soon as you stop sitting, you're no longer a buddha!" Some people have misinterpreted it this way, but it is quite obviously not what this means! There is no refuge in refusing to face action, in refusing to do what's required by circumstances, etc. Sitting is not intrinsically what buddhahood is about, and those who interpreted "just sitting" as being Enlightened in a naïve reading at face-value have fallen for the very risk the message was warning us against.
One meaning of this is quite directly accessible: "if you want to be the buddha, then be the buddha!" It is loosely linked to "if you meet the buddha, kill him" as in: don't 'conceptualise' what Enlightenment is or how an Enlightened being behaves, 'realise' it for yourself!
Don't sit in order to be a buddha (as this seems to condition buddhahood by a specific path… whereas nirvāṇa is un-conditioned), sit because you are a buddha!
This relates to what I regularly describes as buddhas are free from rules, so they don't follow the precepts as rules, however they behave in such ways that accord with the precepts. From the outside, it is undistinguishable. At the level of intention (hence karma, or extinction of karma…), it is quite different though!
The distinction is in why the behaviour is in agreement with the precept: is it because you follow a dictat (given by someone else —possibly very respectable and respected, but still someone else) or is it because you "see things as they are" and can foresee the consequences of your acts? Do you "refrain from lying" because of a mental fabrication (a rule or precept, a concept, a habit… i.e. karma), or because you can see (for yourself, without prejudices or blind spots, i.e. without karma) the negative consequences lying would have?
Don't "refrain from lying" in order to be a buddha,
"refrain from lying" because you are a buddha!
Don't "just sit" in order to be a buddha,
"just sit" because you are a buddha!
This acts as a call for two insights:
• you have buddha-nature!
• don't postpone Enlightenment due to conceptualisations (on how to attain it), get out of the conditioned thinking and push through mental fabrications now! You can be in buddha now, just sit as a buddha!
#Buddhism #Zen #Dharma #buddhistcircle
Post Scriptum: 'studying' is like "refraining from lying". There is no contradiction between knowledge and Enlightenment, and… knowledge does not make anyone Enlightened. It has always been said that nirvāṇa is unconditioned, so the Dharma was never to make anyone Enlightened. What the Dharma does is to help you remove obstacles, so you can walk into (or cross over to) Enlightenment unimpeded. Meditation does not make you Enlightened, sitting does not make you Enlightened, but it removes obstacles. It slowly weakens delusions which prevented you to "see things as they are." That still does not warrantee in any way to make you see, because you might create new veils (this possibility is why nirvāṇa is unconditioned: the path is not warranted!). But surely removing veils is helpful (and some would say a pre-requisite, except veils may be torn suddenly at the very moment of seeing, so their tearing is not a 'causal' pre-requisite strictly-speaking).
[ photo: http://northernballet.com/index.php?q=news/11-04-27/jon-ingham/dont-just-sit-there-storm-kc-stadium a photo perfect for the mild kōan as the header of this post! ]