Subjects — B
Buddhism is not a creed, it is a doubt.
Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.
Yoga in Mayfair or Fifth Avenue, or in any other place which is on the telephone, is a spiritual fake.
Zen is to religion what a Japanese “rock garden” is to a garden. Zen knows no god, no afterlife, no good and no evil, as the rock-garden knows no flowers, herbs or shrubs. It has no doctrine or holy writ: its teaching is transmitted mainly in the form of parables as ambiguous as the pebbles in the rock-garden which symbolise now a mountain, now a fleeting tiger. When a disciple asks “What is Zen?”, the master’s traditional answer is “Three pounds of flax” or “A decaying noodle” or “A toilet stick” or a whack on the pupil’s head.
A religion so cheerless, a philosophy so sorrowful, could never have succeeded with the masses of mankind if presented only as a system of metaphysics. Buddhism owed its success to its catholic spirit and its beautiful morality.
To meditate on a koan is to engage in an active process, like that we engage in when we try to solve a mathematical problem. As in mathematics, the solution is supposed to come suddenly.
Those who believe in substantiality are like cows; those who believe in emptiness are worse.
Thoughts of themselves have no substance; let them arise and pass away unheeded. Thoughts will not take form of themselves, unless they are grasped by the attention; if they are ignored, there will be no appearing and no disappearing.
When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on ones’ relation to the act or its character or value…. One should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquility of mind, realization, insight, and wisdom.
A controlled mind is conducive to joyfulness.