sitting quietly, doing nothing
by alan watts
The mind, or the true nature, cannot actually be split. According to a Zenrin poem:
Like a sword that cuts, but cannot cut itself;
Like an eye that sees, but cannot see itself.
The illusion of the split comes from the mind's attempt to be both itself and its idea of
itself, from a fatal confusion of fact with symbol. To make an end of the illusion, the mind
must stop trying to act upon itself, upon its stream of experiences, from the standpoint
of the idea of itself which we call the ego. This is expressed in another Zenrin poem:
Sitting quietly, doing nothing,
Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.
This "by itself" is the mind's and the world's natural way of action, as when the eyes
see by themselves, and the ears hear by themselves, and the mouth opens by itself without
having to be forced open by the fingers. As the Zenrin poem says again:
The blue mountains are of themselves blue mountains;
The white clouds are of themselves white clouds.
This quotation is taken from the chapter entitled "Sitting Quietly, Doing Nothing" in Alan
Watts' classic book The Way of Zen.
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