One day a student asked Zen master Hueihai: “Master, how do I diligently practice Zen?” Hueihai replied to him, “When hungry, eat; when tired, sleep.” The student felt puzzled, he asked master Hueihai again, “Is this not what most people do?” Hueihai said, “No, no, no! Most people are not like that. Most people, when eating, are full of thoughts and desires, and when sleeping, are full of cares. Therefore we are practicing differently.”
As embodied beings the input we receive from our senses are very strong. It is habitual for people to rely on this input when doing things. For example we often choose food by smell and taste and, as a result, make bad choices daily. But if we look at the two most important things for sustaining life, “air” and “water”, they have almost no smell and no taste. We can’t live without them. They are the true taste. A bottle of wine worth several thousands dollars perhaps tastes good and perfume worth several hundred dollars a bottle may also smell good but we can live without them. Masters integrate their practice of Zen/Tao into daily life, not allowing themselves just to follow feelings. They know feelings are capricious. Many people just beginning Zen practice have to feel good or have some kind special feeling to persist in their efforts. Without it they don’t feel their practice has value.
David’s last article encourages people to “use your Tai Chi everyday”. If you can blend practicing Tai Chi, Chi Kung… anything, into your daily life, then it will become true practicing.
How many people are seeking far and wide for what lies close at hand? We have to diffuse dangerous things that cause inner disorder and live according to our original nature, because Zen/Tao is in everyday life.