Getting the best of you.
Getting the best of you.

Just This





Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual

everyday routine. If you become too busy and too excited,

your mind becomes rough and ragged. This is not good. If

possible, try to be always calm and joyful and keep yourself

from excitement. Usually we become busier and busier, day

by day, year by year, especially in our modern world. If we

revisit old, familiar places after a long time, we are astonished

by the changes. It cannot be helped. But if we become

interested in some excitement, or in our own change, we

will become completely involved in our busy life, and we

will be lost. But if your mind is calm and constant, you can

keep yourself away from the noisy world even though you

are in the midst of it. In the midst of noise and change, your

mind will be quiet and stable.

Zen is not something to get excited about. Some people

start to practice Zen just out of curiosity, and they only

make themselves busier. If your practice makes you worse,

it is ridiculous. I think that if you try to do zazen once a

week, that will make you busy enough. Do not be too interested

in Zen. When young people get excited about Zen

they often give up schooling and go to some mountain or

forest in order to sit. That kind of interest is not true


Just continue in your calm, ordinary practice and your

character will be built up. If your mind is always busy, there

will be no time to build, and you will not be successful,

particularly if you work too hard on it. Building character

is like making bread—you have to mix it little by little,

step by step, and moderate temperature is needed. You know

yourself quite well, and you know how much temperature

you need. You know exactly what you need. But if you get

too excited, you will forget how much temperature is good

for you, and you will lose your own way. This is very


Buddha said the same thing about the good ox driver. The

driver knows how much load the ox can carry, and he keeps

the ox from being overloaded. You know your way and

your state of mind. Do not carry too much! Buddha also

said that building character is like building a dam. You

should be very careful in making the bank. If you try to do

it all at once, water will leak from it. Make the bank carefully

and you will end up with a fine dam for the reservoir.

Our unexciting way of practice may appear to be very

negative. This is not so. It is a wise and effective way to work

on ourselves. It is just very plain. I find this point very difficult

for people, especially young people, to understand. On

the other hand it may seem as if I am speaking about gradual

attainment. This is not so either. In fact, this is the sudden

way, because when your practice is calm and ordinary,

everyday life itself is enlightenment.


Share This Story

Get our newsletter