Chapter 1: Here it is
It is the meeting of the whole genius of Asia because the Indian genius, the Chinese genius and the Japanese genius – these are the three main currents of Asian genius – they all have contributed to Zen.
You can find the Zen Master chopping wood, cooking food, carrying water from the well, digging a hole in the garden, planting trees – all kinds of ordinary activities. But if you watch him you will see the difference.
The difference is tremendous, but it is not of quantity: it is of quality. He works with such awareness, with such silence, with such joy and celebration that he transforms the whole activity.
The Jain, the Hindu, they escape from the world. The Zen Master lives in the world and transforms it.
The old idea of renouncing the world has totally failed, entirely failed. It is basically wrong and impractical too.
Be non-competitive. To be competitive is to be worldly.
Zen is a radical transformation of consciousness. It cleanses you totally and its method of cleansing is unique; it has never been tried before. It is the greatest contribution to human consciousness.
CHAO CHOU ASKED MASTER NAN CHUAN, ”WHAT IS THE TAO?”
Tao is another name of ”isness”. You cannot ask, ”What is isness?” You can only experience it. right now it can be experienced, not tomorrow. It surrounds you, you are breathing in it, you are part of it. It is the very heartbeat of your existence. It pulsates in your blood. It is your consciousness.
NAN CHUAN ANSWERED, ”THE ORDINARY MIND IS TAO.”
What is the ordinary mind? When there is nothing in the mind when you are not desiring anything, no thoughts, no memories, no projections, no past, no future… then the mind is absolutely ordinary.
It is because of your desires, dreams that you go on missing that which is always available, that which you have never lost for a single moment even. it is your very intrinsic nature. But so many thoughts in the mind create a cloud around you, and the traffic is always there.
Watch the traffic of the mind and you will be surprised: not for a single moment there is a gap. And whenever there is a gap there is a taste of Tao.
Don’t try to be extraordinary in any way – and everybody does that. We are brought up in such a way, we have been told again and again by parents, teachers, everybody that, ”Be the first, be special, be outstanding!”