environmental art by Andy Goldsworthy

It is not dependent on anything.

That is why you can practice having nothing to do. That is why you are free. That is why you can enter the perfect land in an instant. That is why one man came through the concentration camp ordeal of the Nazis untouched in his awareness of his perfect spiritual self. That is why it is said that the man Jesus, upon becoming aware of his Christ self, voluntarily went through the physical ordeal to his painful death in order to demonstrate the illusion of this ‘solid’ realm. That is why we are free now and the dependence we feel is of our own making, because we have the power to feel dependent and powerless – whether out of ignorance or design, it matters not.

That is why the feeling that there is something to do ‘in order to…’ feeds our sense of dependence. That is why we practice having nothing to do.

blind shaved-heads – zen

“There are a group of blind shaved-heads who, haven eaten their fill, sit down to practice meditation. They take hold of thought and do not allow it to arise. They cannot bear noise but like quiet. The way they practice in no different from non-Buddhists. A master said: ‘Those who practice concentrating their mind to contemplate stillness, then take the mind to contemplate outside the mind, or collect the mind inwardly, or stop the mind in order to enter samadhi, are all doing something and not yet practicing having nothing to do.’”

The Record of Master Linji, Teaching 18




Further Reading:

who am I? where am I? what am I?


3 thoughts on “independence

  1. Practicing meditation is not necessarily a “non-doing”. In fact, it is a “doing”. It is a “doing” of cultivating one-pointedness of what one wants to nourish and grow in one’s self. It’s a centering and quieting process so that which you desire as deepening, the virtues of the heart, for instance, or awareness of one’s immortal self or simply developing intuitive insight may be gained. In short, it is a chosen practice and discipline. The act of “non-doing” on the other hand does indeed take “doing”. Perhaps this is the riddle and koan of its very essense…a very zen way in my opinion.

    • Yes. I am getting more and more a sense of ‘practicing having nothing to do” – which for me is deepening the sense of everything already unfolding even within me. So, yes, when I am in the space of “having nothing to do” (maybe slightly different from “non-doing”) I am holding myself in a certain poise, not allowing myself to be distracted by surrounding – in this sense it is an ‘activity’ but not directed to any ‘goal’, rather the attainment is of non-attainment, or in other words, getting out of the way of what is already happening with me and through me (surrender to ‘what is”). It is indeed a koan that can open up space. Words, words, words… Thank you for your response!

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