"This is the realm of true reality where you forget what is on your mind and stop looking. In a wild field, not choosing, picking up whatever comes to hand, the obvious meaning of Zen is clear in the hundred grasses. Indeed, the green bamboo, the clusters of yellow flowers, fences, walls, tiles, and pebble us the teaching of the inanimate; rivers, birds, trees, and groves expound suffering, emptiness, and selflessness. This is based on the one true reality, producing unconditional compassion, manifesting uncontrived, supremely wondrous power in the great jewel light of nirvana.
An ancient master said, "Meeting a companion on the Way,
spending a life together, the whole task of study is done." Another master
said, "If I pick up a single leaf and go into the city, I move the whole of the
mountain." That is why one ancient adept was enlightened on hearing the
sound of pebbles striking bamboo, while another was awakened on seeing peach
trees in bloom. An ancient worthy, working in the fields in his youth ,
was breaking up clumps of earth when he saw a big clod, which he playfully
smashed with a fierce blow; as it shattered, he was suddenly greatly
enlightened. One Zen master attained enlightenment on seeing the flagpole
of a teaching center from the other side of a river. Another spoke of the
staff of the spirit. One adept illustrated Zen realization by planting a
hoe in the ground; another master spoke of Zen in term of sowing the fields.
All of these instances were bringing out this indestructible true being,
allowing people to visit a greatly liberated true teacher without moving a step.
Carrying out the unspoken teaching, attaining unhindered
eloquence, thus they forever studied all over from all things, embracing the
all-inclusive universe, detaching from both abstract and concrete definitions of
buddhahood, and transcendentally realizing universal, all pervasive Zen in the
midst of all activities. Why necessarily consider holy places, teachers'
abodes, or religious organizations and forms prerequisite to personal
familiarity and attainment of realization?"
- Yuan-Wu, The House of Lin-Chi, "The Five Houses
of Zen," translated by Thomas Cleary, Shambhala Press, 1997, p. 58.
"I did however used to think,
you know, in the woods walking, and as a kid playing the the woods, that there was a kind of
immanence there - that woods, a places of that order, had a
sense, a kind of presence, that you could feel; that there was something
peculiarly, physically present, a feeling of place almost conscious ... like God. It evoked that."
- Robert Creely, Robert Creely and the Genius
of the American Common Place, p. 40
"The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars."
- Chief Dan George
Gardening and Spirituality