Do you know or understand the difference between “effortful effort” and fulfilling, comfortable effort, or “effortless energy”? We need to feel and experience these two kinds of effort (which we sometimes experience in our daily lives).
All our practices should be effortless, without any gaining idea, any ego-attachment or desire. Rather, fulfilling, activated energy should be streaming in NOW (Now-by-Now). Usually, our ego-effort, hard effort, or effortful effort is useless, and a mere waste of energy. However, when the energy sustaining the effortful effort is completely exhausted, we sometimes experience a different quality of fulfilling, fresh energy streaming in and penetrating us and which carries us beyond our habitual patterns of effort. We call it “zamai” in Japanese and “samadhi” in Sanskrit. This is the effortless effort of awakened energy, which is very apparent when we practice without any habitual attachment (of any gaining idea). At that time, the
emptiness (full of life-energy) arises and we ourselves disappear. This is SHIKAN TAZA, which is full of energy, not Buji zen, not zen to gain Satori, but the middle way – the Open Way. (Is your zazen like this?)
When a spinning top is at full speed it looks as if it is standing still. A revolving propeller seems as if it does not exist. When our zazen manifests the trinity of right posture, mindful breathing and no-mind meditation, the essential quality of emptiness (Sunyata) and the necessary quantity of meditation (Samadhi) is the whole(one)cosmos – THIS!
This is the mother (basis) of Wisdom (enlightened understanding) and Love (compassion) in our daily actions.
Sometimes, at the very end of extreme effort, we accidentally enter into a peaceful, egoless, effortless state in which all our habitual tendencies (e.g., intentions to gain, striving and struggling towards a goal) have fallen away; it is too peaceful to gain anything. Therefore, “nothing to get”, is the greatest emptiness which is full of life energy – “self-fullfillng Samadhi”.
With nothing to gain, do you still strive with hard effort? Of course, not. No effort, but peaceful energy, steady penetration and natural fruit (result). It is possible to practice and experience the genuine and essential quality of open way zen awareness without making hard effort, without falling into low energy (Buzi zen), without catching any zen disease – as long as we practice (experience) Now-by-Now the Trinity (Metta-Sila, Sunyata-Samadhi, and Bodhi-Prajna) of THIS.
24.01.2003, Springbrook sesshin.