Looking at Zen koans and koan-like passages from the aspect of pure Mind is the only way to unlock the mystery of Zen. Take, for example, the koan Joshu’s Dog. To answer this koan it is necessary to know how pure Mind is related to Joshu’s “Mu.” Again, let’s take the koan, Wash Your Bowl. How is pure Mind connected with Joshu’s words, “Then go wash your bowl”? Or, how does pure Mind fit with Gutei’s finger which he raised when anyone asked him a question about Zen? When Bodhidharma said, “Not one of them understands the movement of his own hands and feet,” how does his statement apply to pure Mind? How does pure Mind relate to Ananda grasping the corner of Shânavâs’s robe then yanking it only to greatly awaken Shânavâs? There is no other way to unlock the mystery of Zen except in the context of pure Mind.
Looking at Zen koans and sermons this way, some part of us almost knows the real meaning of Zen while another part of us is deeply confused; not sure what to make of Zen. The part of us that is deeply confused tends to have the final say. In other words, many of today’s Zennists are confused about Zen; who also seem oddly closed off to the idea of looking at Zen and its koans through the context of pure Mind.
Zen doesn’t have to be all that confusing for us. But it often is, especially, when doing seated meditation is added to the mix. No modern Zennist is really clear about seated meditation or zazen. The pertinent question is, how does seated meditation fit into the context of pure Mind? It seems to me that no modern Zennist has a satisfactory answer which should be somewhat obvious. Speaking for myself, I have no problem with an answer.
When the fluctuations of our human mind cease, the eternal pure substance of Mind is revealed at once. This is meditation (dhyâna). To contemplate this pure substance is called right samadhi.
Western Zen may very well die out because it hasn’t, as yet, acknowledged the overarching importance of realizing pure Mind and that the edifice of Zen is built upon the realization of pure Mind—not seated meditation or any other practice which only adds confusion to modern Zen.