Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Challenge of Awakening

Excerpt from Hakuin Ekaku's Talks Given Introductory to Zen Lectures on the Records of Sokko, 1740:
"Buddha means 'one who is awakened.' Once you have awakened, your own mind itself is Buddha. By seeking outside yourself for a Buddha invested with form, you set yourself forward as a foolish, misguided man. It is like a person who wants to catch a fish. He must start by looking in the water, because fish live in water and are not found apart from it. If a person wants to find Buddha, he must look into his own mind, because it is there, and nowhere else, that Buddha exists.
"Question: 'In that case, what can I do to become awakened to my own mind?'
"What is that which asks such a question? Is it your mind? Is it your original nature? Is it some kind of spirit or demon? Is it inside you? Outside you? Is it somewhere intermediate? Is it blue, yellow, red, or white?

"It is something you must investigate and clarify for yourself. You must investigate it whether you are standing or sitting, speaking or silent, when you are eating your rice or drinking your tea. You must keep at it with total, single-minded devotion. And never, whatever you do, look in sutras or in commentaries for an answer, or seek it in the words you hear a teacher speak.
"When all the effort you can muster has been exhausted and you have reached a total impasse, and you are like the cat at the rathole, like the mother hen warming her egg, it will suddenly come and you will break free. The phoenix will get through the golden net. The crane will fly clear of the cage...."
(As found in The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, trans. by Norman Waddell. [Boston: Shambhala, 1994].)

No comments: