"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.
Spirtiuality and Gardening