Zen 101

Sunday, September 27, 2015

On a Clear Mind

From Outside the Margins
On a Clear Mind

With respect to all,

It is 1:00 AM. I am awake and outside looking at the moon through my telescope again.  The sky here in New Mexico is large and clear as a bell.  I have just practiced Zazen before coming outside and feel the after effects of a mind made clear by just sitting.  Clarity is a delicious thing. It is free and open, flowing without obstruction.  Its very nature, however, can be addicting. 

I want to talk a little about that.  A clear mind, placid, without ripples reflects exactly what is there and does so without recourse to names.  A wall is no longer a wall;  a cup no longer a cup. There is nothing there and no observer observing.  Just this, as we so often say in the Zen world. 

Many of us strive to reach this place, but it eludes those who strive.  Cease looking and there it is.  Its why we call it serene reflection meditation.   Yet, when this is all we can see and all we wish to be, we are said to be stuck on top of a hundred foot pole.  Achieved clarity, achieved clear mind, and the question arises, “So?” 

So, it feels good.  So, it is relaxed and stress free.  So, it is that we want to stay there.  But we can’t, can we?  We must eat. We must walk, sleep, and earn a living.  Yet, that sense of serenity keeps tugging at us.  

The moon tonight is full. It lights up the night with its brilliance.  But this is short-lived and will over the next few days diminish.  In this natural world lessons abound.  The moon does not seek brilliance; it does not seek clarity.  It is brilliant and it is not.  Trying to hold onto that brilliance creates suffering. Just so, serene mind.  

Yet, here’s teething, that serene mind, that ability to see without obstruction is always available to us. All that is required is a willingness to release our ideas about what is in front of us and allow it to be experienced directly. 

So, the moon I am looking at this evening is not the moon. The telescope is not the telescope. I am not Daiho.  Each of these words are concepts, something added.  Remove the addition and what is left?