12 April 2011

Contemplation: the Waves and the Water

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take this as your object of contemplation:

Someone once said, "Our sect values illuminating the mind and seeing one's nature, but [you] master are always preaching on the sutras and commentaries. Isn't that at variance with the teaching of 'direct pointing [to the mind, seeing one's nature and becoming a Buddha]?'" Tetsugen laughed and said, "Isn't what you said a little simplistic? Meditation (zen) is the water and the teachings (kyo) are the waves. When you seize onto meditation and throw away the teachings, it is like seeking the water while rejecting the waves. The teachings are the vessel and the meditation is the gold. When you seize onto the teachings and throw out meditation, it is like casting off the gold and looking for the vessel. The waves and the water are not separate. The vessel is itself the gold. Meditation and the teachings are not two things."

from The Deeds of Tetsugen, quoted in Iron Eyes by Helen J. Baroni, p. 60

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