Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nothing to Do

It has been a long time since I thought it prudent to put anything down here. Life has brought interesting times. As in the Chinese curse, "[m]ay you live in interesting times." Interesting times, indeed.

One of the hardest things about Soto Zen meditation, or zazen, is that it requires one to put aside the samsaric mind completely. The samsaric mind, the wandering mind, is constantly looking for something. A thought. An experience. A state of mind called enlightenment.

Like a stubborn Zen master, zazen gives this mind nothing to eat. When sitting, one merely sits, although silently and with attention. But beyond a few basic pointers on form and some rudimentary attention, we are left with nothing to do.

It can infuriate the mind conditioned to doing. The mind likes to pick and choose. In zazen, nothing is picked and nothing is chosen. Things are allowed to be, exactly as they are. No more, no less.

The good news is that the burden is lifted. Because there really is nothing to do, there is nothing to gain. Without gain, there is no loss. Without gain and loss, there is no stress. And without stress... well, that must really be tasted to be believed.