Doing away with metaphysics and scriptures, this radical path offers some unconventional, direct ways to shake you out of your blabbering mind to let you see your true nature
When Mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers—again
In Zen Heart, Zen Mind, Zen master AMA Samy, the only Indian to have received the Dharma Seal of Enlightenment from a recognised Zen master in Japan, says, “To live a life of Zen is to live in the mysticism of the now, of the particular and concrete. What does this living in the now mean? It is as simple as Zen Enlightenment: the now is the now! …Yet this apparent simplicity is full of traps and pitfalls… Living in now becomes for many, the philosophy of Carpe Diem: enjoy the day as long as it lasts.
“You can enter the Now only as a free and conscious Subject. This involves taking responsibility for yourself, learning to accept your desires and not live by the desires and expectations of others. It is only by being true to yourself, to your heart’s desires and decisions, and taking responsibility for yourself that you become yourself and begin to live truly. In this process, the images of God as a super other standing over and against you have to go. God has to die.”
He elucidates by retelling an old Zen story. Once there lived an old woman who had supported a monk for over 20 years—she had housed him in a hut and fed him while he was absorbed in spiritual practice. Came the day she decided to check the adept’s progress. She hired a girl to go to the monk, embrace him and ask him what he was going to do about it. The girl did as instructed, and when she embraced him, the monk said to her, “An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter. Nowhere is there any warmth.” The girl reported her experience to the old woman. The woman was furious. “He showed no consideration for your need, no disposition to explain your condition. He need not have responded to your passion, but he could have at least shown some compassion.” She went to the monk’s hut and burned it down.
Says AMA Samy: “The monk has suppressed his emotions and become attached to his detachment from passions. Without passions there can be no compassion. He is self-enclosed and is not able to pay attention to ‘the other who comes’ and respond.”
Zen believes that emotions and passions are what make us human—one has to learn to cultivate and be sensitive to them, and not negate them as worldly, for only such commitment gives actual freedom. “Emotions and passions are our heart and soul… Passions are bodhi, but that is only half the truth. Emotions become meaningful only in commitment to values in terms of others and the world.”
Commenting on the famous Zen lines of Realisation, AMA Samy says, “In an unawakened state, mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers. You are you, I am I, God is in heaven, humans on earth. Humans, God, Buddha-nature, self, all are substantial realities standing distinct from each other... Zen calls this state one of ‘greed, hatred and illusion’. It is the world of samsara, the world of delusion…
“True Awakening is to come to a Realisation that the Self moves freely between the threefold relationship of: ‘I-It, I-Thou and I-I… that when you see a tree, you are the tree, when you hear a sound, you are the sound… that there is no self… that the self has been opened up, it is now a boundless openness and that each and everything can let-be in this boundless openness, which is but the presenting of Reality itself.
“So that in the ultimate level, there is nothing at all, it is empty, an ascendance from the unawakened state of mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers, and passing the interim stage of mountains are not mountains, rivers are not rivers, to the awakened state of mountains are mountains, rivers are rivers.”
There are then no secrets in Zen—that the truth is manifest before your very eyes, what Amy Samy calls as ‘just this’ but not, the literal meaning ‘just this, nothing more!’ For in that case, ‘just this’ merely becomes “materialistic, literalistic, self-enclosed ego consciousness”. ‘Just this’ to be truly ‘just this’, includes the ‘not this’, and only then the ‘just this’ can manifest mountains, rivers, the sun and the stars, and the whole universe itself. This is the True Awakening: “that ‘Samsara is Nirvana, and Nirvana is Samsara’; or ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form’.”
AMA Samy was born Arul Maria Arokiasamy of Indian Christian parents in Burma in 1936, and came to India after the War. He became a Jesuit priest, then came under Ramana Maharshi’s influence, and eventually went to Japan to train under Yamada-Ko Un Roshi in Kamakura. Coming back home, he started teaching Zen and in 1996 set up the Bodhi Zendo at Perumalmalai, Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu.
Source: Zen Heart, Zen Mind—The Teachings of
Zen Master Ama Samy
Contact: (04542) 230345, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: ewww.bodhizendo.org
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