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Dance of Buddha Nature is Beyond Thought


In the profound words of the late Sylvia Plath, "If I didn’t think, I’d be much happier." From a surface glance, these words may hint at resignation, a retreat from the world's complexity. But when viewed through the lens of Rinzai Zen, they unfurl to reveal penetrating spiritual wisdom.


In the hustle and grind culture of modern life, we often become entangled in a web of relentless thoughts. Like uninvited guests, these thoughts knock on the door of our mind, demanding attention, and robbing us of the tranquility that lies in the present moment. But, is the cessation of thought truly the antidote to happiness?


Zen Buddhism teaches us that it is not the act of thinking that obstructs happiness, but our attachment to these thoughts. The incessant chatter in our minds isn't the villain; it's our inability to detach from this chatter that results in unease.


Zen training and practice invite and encourages us to observe our thoughts, like clouds passing across the sky, without grasping onto them or pushing them away. This is not a path of thought eradication but a journey towards non-attachment. By doing so, we cultivate the 'mind of No-Knowing-Mind,' an opening of effortless awareness where thoughts no longer disturb our inner tranquility... Buji... nothing else to do... no one else to be... nowhere else to go, because of authentic contentment.


In Zen meditation, or Zazen, we sit, breathe, and witness our thoughts. We don't strive to eliminate them or entertain them. We simply watch, and in this watching, a remarkable transformation occurs. The thoughts, once so domineering, begin to lose their grip. Our mind, no longer a turbulent sea, becomes a serene lake reflecting the moonlight.


Indeed, Sylvia Plath's words subtly encapsulate this Zen wisdom. Happiness is not found in the absence of thinking thoughts, but in the freedom from their bondage. It's in our power to observe thoughts without judgment, to allow them to rise and fall without our interference. By embracing this principle, we can experience a profound inner peace, a much deeper form of happiness that is not contingent upon external circumstances.


The practice of Zen is not about reaching a destination but about realizing that the path and the traveler are one. As we navigate life's journey, may we remember that the key to happiness is not to cease thinking but to cease clinging. Let thoughts come and go, let them dance and dissolve, and in this space, may we find the simple, profound joy of being.


Through the quiet practice of Zen, we may discover, in the heart of silence, a happiness that has always been ours, waiting patiently beneath the noise of thought. And in this discovery, we may find ourselves echoing Sylvia Plath's insight, from a spontaneous Zen twist, "If I didn’t cling to thoughts, I’d be much happier."


一We Are the Same Sky-like Presence

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