The worthy adept should regard the words of Zen masters, including even the words of the Buddha and patriarchs to be pointing to what is beyond the ken of human ideation and perception.
If the adept seeks anything from their words, hoping to perceive something determinate, the adept will be bound down by that which he or she possesses however subtle. Seeking for anything brings only pain as a reward. If the adept wishes to be free from such suffering, they should seek where thought and appearance are still unborn.
But how few are worthy adepts these days!
The many are seeking robes and transmission certificates. They want to belong to a Zen organization living and working with fellow practitioners hoping that this path is the fastest route to awakening. But the path to awakening is far too subtle for such people. It requires the worthy adept. One who already sees the path to be on the inside—not the outside.
Today’s college students are at too low a level to be considered as worthy adepts. They lack both resiliency and a subtle mind. Nor do they have sufficient faith in themselves and the transcendent. Furthermore, they are brainwashed to believe that only what the senses perceive can be counted as true reality.
Still, eventually these people will wake up to the fact that life, the longer they live, only gets worse and maybe more of the Buddha’s path would have been better. Oh sure there are many good days when youth is still with us but eventually the bad days find us.
We soon become old and worn out by our youthful excesses. Then we begin to think counterfactually as in what if I had done that instead of this? Or, if only we had stayed here and not moved, our lives would have been so much better, etc. And perhaps the biggest example of counterfactual thinking, if I had to do it all over again I would have done such and such instead of that.