[19] Walking is Zen, sitting is Zen (from The Shodoka)

by Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku

English version by Robert Aitken
Original Language Chinese

Walking is Zen, sitting is Zen;
Speaking or silent, active or quiet, the essence is at peace.
Even facing the sword of death, our mind is unmoved;
Even drinking poison, our mind is quiet.

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This verse from the Yoka Genkaku's Zen classic the Shodoka is not telling us about some ideal state of mind we should strive for. This is not a statement of "should" or of possibility. This is simply a statement of fact.

This verse is a description of the state of awareness that already exists, that perpetually exists, beneath the agitated surface of the busy mind.

We are being urged to look for that eternal stillness of awareness, the witness whose "essence is at peace" whether "active or quiet." Even when faced with the great fear, death, the true awareness is unperturbed.

This is the true Self. This is the Divine within. This is Zen.



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19] Walking is Zen