I have mentioned this several times before, but just practicing will not help anyone to awaken to their Buddha-nature. Practice is what you do after you’ve awakened. It is like first finding a vein of gold then digging it out. By samadhi after samadhi (the digging out of the gold) one removes the dross so that the light increases. We do this by prajñâ, that is, discerning the real from the unreal. If one has not first awakened to the real how is it possible to distinguish the real from the unreal?
The history of Zen Buddhism is also a history of those who expect to awaken by pursuing a particular practice such as zazen. Just sit, and eventually you will turn into a Buddha! But his is not the way it works. We first have to have right view. This means we have to catch a glimpse of the absolute—we first have to find our vein of gold, in other words. No gold, no wealth. Hours and hours spent doing zazen as if it might awaken us is all wrong. This is why Zen master Chen-ching said:
“As for those who sit in cesspits for no reason [do zazen], deceiving spirit and fooling ghosts, even if you killed a thousand or ten thousand of them and fed them to the dogs, what would be wrong with that?"
Attachment to the physical practice of zazen is not the key we are looking for to open the door to pure Mind. It can really be a form of self-deception. The adept just sits, and doesn’t go beyond that. But the light of Mahayana doesn’t reveal itself when we are seated or when we are moving. Crossing our legs or turning our head left and right, the spiritual light is in no way affected or suddenly revealed.
We are dealing with an immense subtlety far beyond the reach of the physical world, one wherein even the subject and the perceived object are transcended. Unfortunately, Buddhism, including Zen Buddhism is unable to specifically say, this is how you realize your Buddha-nature or the same thing, pure Mind. Readers of this blog know that I became for want of a better term, obsessed with finding pure Mind. I knew, in a way, what my maculate mind was all about. I was in a via negativa search mode you could say. Then one night, it happened. I am living testimony that anyone can see their true nature. After that, my real practice began.