An Unauthorized and Incomplete Guide to Zazen–contents

Yuanwu on the Transmission of Mind

Dragon tiling fractal image

Just make the transmission continue without a break from source to source, and then you will be a joyously alive person on the road of eternal life.

The ancestral teacher said: "Mind turns following the myriad objects. If you can really reach the hidden depths of this turning and recognize true nature going along with the flow, then there is no joy and no sorrow."

(“Zen Letters”, trans. by Cleary and Cleary, pg 92, ©1994 by J. C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)

The occurrence of consciousness, the impact of the occurrence, and the feeling associated with impact tend to reinforce one another; impact opens the ability to feel, the ability to feel encourages stretch, and the activity of stretch brings contact and the occurrence of consciousness.

Going into a wild field, not choosing
Picking up whatever plant comes to hand,
Rootless but finding life,
Apart from the ground but not falling.

(Ibid, a poem by Fadeng, pg 47)

The occurrence of consciousness, the impact of occurrence, and the feeling associated with impact are the sole action of zazen, and give rise to the action of zazen; that is why Shunryu Suzuki said, "only zazen can sit zazen".

The flow of consciousness, impact, and feeling is sometimes a necessary component of the movement of breath, and at such times the unconscious can effect action through the medium of the breath. As if by hypnotic suggestion, the ability to feel necessary to the breath gives rise to action in the body; Kobun Chino Otogawa described the experience with the words, "sometimes zazen gets up and walks around".