In Zen monasteries, the master moves around with a staff, and whenever he sees some disciple dozing, thinking, and with dreams floating on the face, he will immediately hit him hard on the head. It goes like a shock through the spine, and in a split second, thinking stops, and suddenly awareness arises.
When a Zen master makes a pot, a teapot or a cup, he pours his meditation into it, he pours his nothingness into it; he has nothing else. He pours his joy, his silence, his prayer into it. Then it has a different quality, it has a different vibe.
There are Zen gardens where rocks are used with flowers, arranged in such a way that the rock enhances the beauty of the flower, the flower enhances the beauty of the rock. They are in an attunement, they are no more enemies.
It happens to almost all people — unless they come to know that there is a possibility of a totally different kind of creativity. That creativity is not of the mind. It is of no-mind. In the West, mind still remains the source of all creativity. In the East, we have worked totally differently. That’s why you will always see a difference in a zen painting, or a zen poem. It is a totally different world, because the person who was making it was not motivated by any idea. It simply came — out of the blue. He was not more than a vehicle, a passage.
Meditation begins in the turmoil of the mind, reaches to a certain maturity in the hear world of feeling, and reaches to its ultimate flowering in the world of being. And these are the three things to remember first, the prose of the mind, second, the poetry of the heart, and third, just the silent music, the soundless sound, what Zen people call the sound of one hand clapping.
In a few Zen monasteries the monk has to start his morning with loud laughter… for no reason at all, just like prayer. You also follow that, and soon you will start enjoying it. Then you will not seek any reason; there is no reason. Why try to find any reason? When one can laugh without reason, who cares?
Truth has to be your own, only then is it true. Truth has to be a growth of your own consciousness, only then does it liberate. Knowledge binds; wisdom liberates. Information fills your head with noise; wisdom empties your head utterly, and a great silence is left behind. That silence has a music of its own, a melody of its own. The Zen people call it the sound of one hand clapping. There is utter silence, but still the silence is not dead. It is very alive, throbbing, pregnant, breathing, flowering. All those flowers are invisible; only you will know it, or those who have attained to that state will be able to know it.
Zen people tried to go into meditation through many many arts — calligraphy, painting, sculpture, gardening, flower arrangements, archery even. Zen has done something immensely creative. No other religion has been able to rise to such heights of creativity; all other religions have remained poor in that way. And the height consists of only one thing: Zen people became aware that nado can be achieved through as many ways as possible. It is not a question of what you do; it is a question of reading between the lines in whatsoever you are doing.
In Zen they have a saying: From the very beginning all are saved, all are Buddhas. But deep deep sleep has fallen over us. The function of the Master is not to save you but just to remind you.
In Zen they say: Before you meditate rivers are rivers, mountains are mountains; when you meditate rivers are no more rivers, mountains are no more mountains; and when the meditation is completed, when you have attained it, rivers are again rivers, mountains are again mountains.
If one goes on sitting — that’s what Zen people do: year in, year out, they simply go on sitting, doing nothing — slowly, slowly the mind settles, the thoughts disappear. One day, maybe after ten years, twenty years, thirty years — one never knows — one day suddenly the mind is not found at all; it has gone. You are left alone, without the mind. That constant chattering, that mad state, is no more found; you look in and all is silent. And when the mind is not there, you are not there either, because you are nothing but your mind. The disappearance of the mind is the disappearance of your ego, your identity.
Zen follows the principle of anima: sitting silently, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. Zen does not believe in exploring; there is no need to go. Buddhism basically is rooted in the feminine principle, hence Buddha looks so feminine, so graceful, so round.
Zen masters say ‘If you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him!’ They are right… absolutely right. It looks sacrilegious, very disrespectful to say that if you meet Buddha on the way, kill him… but it is very true. You will meet the Buddha on the way or Jesus or Mohammed — that is not the point. You will come across anything that you had been conditioned for in your childhood. Great spiritual masters and Tibetan lamas will appear and you will see that something great is happening. And you will find foolish people appreciating you. They will say ‘Yes… Your status is going higher and higher every day, you are reaching higher stations.’ Don’t listen to these people.
There are two kinds of energies in every human being. One is moon energy, another is sun energy. Moon energy is passive, sun energy is active. And there are two possible ways to go into meditation. One is through the moon energy; then meditation is just a silent sitting and doing nothing. That’s what Zen people do: sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. They simply sit and they wait — whenever the spring comes the grass will grow. They don’t make any effort; they are using moon energy.
In Zen monasteries, when somebody reaches to meditation, they judge it by putting a mirror close to his nose. If no vapour comes on the mirror, then he is in the state. That means that the breathing is so slow that the mirror is not affected at all.