18 Rest and Activity Stop activity and there is no activity; When activity stops, there is

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18 Rest and Activity ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stop activity and there is no activity; When activity stops, there is no rest. Since two cannot be established, How can there be one? In Ch'an practice it is not necessary to stop wandering thoughts. The reason is that activity and rest are not in opposition. But if there is no such duality, then there is no oneness to speak of either. We call this retreat a Ch'an retreat but actually it is just a suffering or training retreat. Ch'an is methodless, but everyone here is using certain methods. The purpose of the methods is to replace your wandering thoughts. But the methods themselves are wandering thoughts. Therefore, to use a method to stop the activity of your thoughts is in itself activity. There can be no such thing as rest. Let us talk about rest. In samadhi, the mind moves so slowly it feels as if it were at rest. But this rest is only relative. Even if you get to the highest level of samadhi, the so-called "neither thinking nor not thinking samadhi," your mind is still moving in a subtle way. However, most people would understand this to be rest. On the other hand, it is possible for the mind to seem to be at rest even when it is moving fast. To illustrate, one can copy a two-hour taped lecture onto another tape in the space of one minute. But if you listen to this lecture as it is being copied, you would not be able to distinguish the various words. You would hear only a single sound. Likewise, a person with an agile mind can resolve many problems without effort. He would not be conscious of any strenuous mental activity. A person with slower mental faculties, however, may sense more vexations and feel that his mind has gone through a lot of thinking, when actually it has dealt with fewer problems. In the very ultimate, Rules and standards do not exist. The ultimate is beyond all human rules and laws. It cannot be judged by worldly standards. Thoroughly enlightened people spontaneously help sentient beings in accordance with causes and conditions. Their actions are not bound by the moral codes of society. This is not the case for ordinary people. We must abide by certain principles and rules. But if the thoroughly enlightened are bound by these laws, it would not be genuine liberation. For them there is no boundary between activity and rest. But the misinterpretation of this truth has caused great harm. Some people think that Ch'an advertises moral indifference, that Ch'an practitioners in general are free to ignore ethical principles. There are some who admit they are not enlightened, but nevertheless refuse to recognize accepted rules of behavior. They reason that if they imitate the ways of an enlightened person, they will gradually pick up the enlightened spirit. Master Hsu-Yun, though a monk, never shaved his head. Thus, he appeared to be one of those who did not observe the rules. However, he insisted that his disciples have shaved heads. The reason why Hsu-Yun never shaved is that during his long period of practice, he did not have the time. Later, when he was an accomplished master he was already accustomed to not shaving. Though his hair was unruly, he conducted his life was very rigorously and in strict accord with the precepts. A Ch'an master may seem carefree, but behind superficial appearances there is a solid foundation. It is only upon a solid foundation that one can draw on a truly liberated spirit not limited by rules. Develop a mind of equanimity, And all deeds are put to rest. A mind of equanimity is a mind without distinctions; in other words, there is no rest and no activity. When your mind is in this condition, whatever you do is the same as not doing anything at all. Your mind is at rest within activity. There is a saying that on becoming an arhat,[1] whatever has to be done has already been accomplished. Similarly, in the Platform Sutra, it is said that when there is no concern about good or evil, you can stretch out your legs and take a nap. When the mind is not making distinctions, there is no self, no other, no good, no bad. There is really nothing that needs to be done. This does not mean that you do nothing, but that your mind is in a state of rest. In fact, it is not even correct to speak of your mind. A person in this condition uses the mind of sentient beings. Anxious doubts are completely cleared. Right faith is made upright. With a mind of equanimity, there is no longer any confusion or doubt about the Dharma. Even if you believe in the Dharma, but have not experienced realization, that is not called "right faith." You must have your own realization so that your faith will be affirmed and never change. Your mind will be straightforward without distortion. This means that whatever you endeavor, you will not make the wrong decision from the point of view of Dharma. The ordinary person may make erroneous judgments and actions, because he uses a mind of distinctions. * * * Note ~~~~ [1] arhat: (sanskrit, "worthy one"). Practitioner, especially in the Hinayana (Theravadin) tradition, who has extinguished all attachments and defilements, and stands on the threshold of nirvana. Contrasted to a bodhisattva of the Mahayana tradition, who foregoes the promise of nirvana until all sentient beings are delivered. * * * * * * * *


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