illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
Expedient means mostly are about rephrasing teachings endlessly, in order to make them intelligible to beings in an endless variety of conditions and circumstances.
When reading the attached quote, those who meditate might not easily agree that "it is easy to have calmness": one quickly learns that the mind is restless and goes into many directions… The world's tendency doesn't appear to lean towards "calm", and the mind all too easily appropriates numberless stimuli then gets carried away.
According to the kalama sutta, we shouldn't accept a quote based on the authority of the teacher: we might use it to reflect, to enquire, to question but not to blindly believe.
This being said, it might be easy to find calm in inactivity… What is hard to find is inactivity itself, so maybe the quote is not so contradictory with the experience of meditation.
Inactivity… also known as 'extinguishing the fire', 'extinction', 'ceasing', 'cessation', etc! Does it ring a bell? The inactivity is not merely physical inactivity, it certainly covers the cessation of mental fabrications too.
We could rewrite the quote to make it more 'classic' for students of Buddhism. For example,
"it is easy to have calmness in inactivity,
it is hard to have calmness in activity,
but calmness in activity is true calmness"
might be rewritten as
it's easy to have peace in nirvāṇa,
it's hard to have peace in saṃsāra,
but peace in saṃsāra is true nirvāṇa.
« Nirvāṇa is saṃsāra » is one of the key tenets of Zen… The tradition of Shunryu Suzuki isn't a major surprise then, is it? ;-)
« Nirvāṇa is peace » is the fourth "mark of existence" (notably in Tibetan traditions), a characteristic added to the classical three: dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), anicca (impermanence), anatta (selflessness).
#Buddhism #Dharma #quote
by Mindah-Lee Kumar (The Enthusiastic Buddhist):
"It is easy to have calmness in inactivity, it is hard to have calmness in activity, but calmness in activity is true calmness."
~ Shunryu Suzuki
Artwork by Narender Mehta