Emptiness

Just look at your body, your feelings, your thoughts; they were changing swiftly since the day you were born.

So you have had millions of bodies; millions of feelings, millions of thoughts – which one is your true body, true feeling, true thought? Your body, your feelings, your thoughts can manifest as millions of forms, because forms are indeed emptiness just like illusions appearing in the mirror. If you cling to anything as form or emptiness, you are chasing the illusions.

Then look at the day before yesterday. Do you feel just like millions of lives away? Are those dreams? Think nothing, just observe. Just be alert, feel the breath, observe the body breathing. And feel the life and death flowing swiftly, endlessly in your whole body.

The Treasure

Living in the world, happy with the Way, you should let all things take their course. When hungry, just eat; when tired, just sleep. The treasure is in your house; do not search any more. Face the scenes, and have no thoughts; then you do not need to ask for Zen.

Live with the water, not with the waves rising and falling; live with the nature of mirror to reflect, not with the images appearing and disappearing; and live with the essence of the mind, not with the thoughts arising and vanishing. When you see the essence of the mind, then you catch a glimpse of Nirvana – the state of unborn, uncreated, unconditioned peace.

After that moment, you know how to live with the mind unmoved while walking, standing, lying, and sitting. How can you see the essence of the mind? Please, remember: You are never away from it, just like the water holds all the waves and is never away from the waves, just like the emptiness of the mirror hold all the images and is never away from the images.

The essence of the mind is non-self, so it manifest as a great magician: your mind has no form, so it takes all forms you see as its forms; your mind has no color, so it takes all colors you see as its colors…Now look out the window, when you see a bird, your mind now has the form of a bird; and when the bird flies, your mind flies too. Your mind is all things you see, all things you hear, all things you feel; the observer is all things observed.

The Spring

When spring goes, all flowers die. When spring comes, all flowers smile. Before the eyes, all things flow endlessly. Over the head, old age comes already. Do not say that with the spring gone, all flowers fall. Last night, in the front yard, a branch of mai flower.

Mai is a kind of flower that blossom in springtime in Vietnam. Notice the contrast between the first and last line; also the last line of the poem is fragment sentence, without a verb, showing the state of unborn, unmoving, undying.

While the stream manifests as endless waves rising and falling, the nature of water stays unmoved, uncreated. Now look at your mind, and see thoughts coming and going, arising and vanishing. The mind is just like a mirror that shows you the images of all things reflected.

All images come and go, but the reflectivity is still there, unmoving, undying. Now, listen to the sound of two hands clapping, then listen to the sound of one hand clapping. Do you hear the soundless? The sound comes and goes, but the nature of hearing ability is still there even in your sleep, unchanging, unmoving, undying.

Taming the mind

Outwardly, stop all involvement; inwardly, stop all fabrication. Be alert – have a mind unmoved by the form you see, by the sound you hear, by the odor you smell, by the flavor you taste.

Constantly, watch the ox moving, listen to its hoofbeats.

Constantly, in any movement, never keep your eyes away from the ox. Constantly, keep your mind on the ox while lying, sitting, standing and walking.

Meditation is like taming an ox. How can you have a mind unmoved while living in this world? Just be like a water, not like waves or bubbles; the water is unmoved, uncreated, unconditioned while the waves rise and fall, the bubbles form and pop endlessly. Look at your mind – an endless stream of thoughts. Keep watching the mind, and be like water, which equally flows all things thrown into that stream

Breathing

Breathing in, you feel you are breathing in; breathing out, you feel you are breathing out. Breathing in, you know you are breathing in; breathing out, you know you are breathing out. While you breathe, you feel; then, you know.

Feeling – that means you feel the breath long or short. Knowing – that means you are aware of the breath rising and falling, rough or smooth, slow or fast.

Breathing meditation helps calm the mind easily; it is also a part of mindfulness meditation. There are many ways in breathing meditation. Some teachers prefer to count or follow the breaths. You should also try this way: With eyes half open, do not count, do not follow, just feel the breath; Be alert, and feel the breathing.

Just be like a baby, and feel the breathing. A baby can not think, can not count, can not put her mind on the breaths, but she lives mostly with a sense of feeling and she will cry when the room is too hot, or when she is hungry. Just feel the breaths, do not count or follow it.

Remember that all methods of breathing meditation are helpful, and you can try many different ones. The Buddha said that breathing meditation cured many illness too.

Sitting

There are three ways of sitting on meditation. First, sit and keep your mind on breathing; second, sit and chant the sutras;

And third, sit and happily listen to the chanting of sutras. Sitting has three levels. First, sit in union; second, sit in peacefulness; And third, sit without fetters. What does it mean to sit in union? That means your mind becomes one with your body. What does it mean to sit in peacefulness? That means your mind has no thought. What does it mean to sit without fetters? When all fetters are destroyed – that means to sit without fetters.

When mindful of your breathing, you are also mindful of your mind. Later, you will see your mind becoming one with your breath. When mindful of your bodily movement, you are also mindful of your mind. Later, you will see your mind becoming one with your body. Looking at your mind, you see thoughts coming and going, just like waves rising and falling. When you see no thoughts occurring, your mind is peaceful just like a still lake.