Zen practice in the midst of activity
is superior to that pursued within tranquility.
…fundamentalism is not the only religious response to the modernist critique of religion. An alternative response accepts the constructive criticisms of the agnostics, skeptics, and humanists, and admits that religion in the past has been deeply flawed. But rather than reject religion, it seeks a new understanding of what it means to be religious. Those who take this route, the liberal religious wing, come to understand religion as primarily a way to find a proper orientation in life, as a guide in our struggles with the crises, conflicts, and insecurities that haunt our lives, including our awareness of our inevitable mortality. We undertake the religious quest, not to pass from this world to a transcendent realm beyond, but to discover a transcendent dimension of life-—a superior light, a platform of ultimate meaning—-amidst the turmoil of everyday existence.
Meditation, simply defined, is a way of being aware. It is the happy marriage of doing and being. It lifts the fog of our ordinary lives to reveal what is hidden; it loosens the knot of self-centeredness and opens the heart; it moves us beyond mere concepts to allow for a direct experience of reality. Meditation embodies the way of awakening: both the path and its fruition. From one point of view, it is the means to awakening; from another, it is awakening itself.
Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our souls and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thoughts our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.
For we are only the rind and the leaf.
The great death, that each of us carries inside,
is the fruit.
Everything enfolds it.
Dualistic thinking is a sickness.
Religion is a distortion.
Materialism is cruel.
Blind spirituality is unreal.
Chanting is no more holy than listening
to the murmur of a stream, counting prayer beads
no more sacred than simply breathing,
religious robes no more spiritual than work clothes.
If you wish to attain oneness with the Tao,
don’t get caught up in spiritual superficialities.
Instead, live a quiet and simple life, free
of ideas and concepts.
Find contentment in the practice of
undiscriminating virtue, the only true power.
Giving to others selflessly and anonymously,
radiating light throughout the world and
illuminating your own darknesses,
your virtue becomes a sanctuary
for yourself and all beings.
This is what is meant by embodying the Tao.
from the text Hua Hu Ching via livethetao
Meditation is the silence of the mind, but in that silence, in that intensity, in that total alertness, the mind is no longer the seat of thought, because thought is time, thought is memory, thought is knowledge. And when it is completely quiet and highly sensitive, the mind can take a voyage which is timeless, limitless.