Hsin Shin Ming: “11. When you try to stop activity to achieve quietude, the very effort fills you with activity.”
‘Stop activity’ means to stop your thinking from arising, and ‘achieve quietude’ means to keep your mind quiet or peaceful. Activity is to quietude as the right is to the left.
If you try to achieve quietude by stopping your thinking from arising, you can’t help but fail to achieve it since your thought and effort to achieve quietude is also activity. That is not achieving quietude but making yet more activity. This is why the scripture says that the very effort fills you with activity. Even if you succeed in stopping your thinking from arising, how could you live your life without thinking? Achieving quietude must not be misunderstood as becoming thoughtless and emotionless like stone or wood without any thought or sense.
True quietude means not to be deluded by illusions. So, it can be achieved only by realising that activity is quietude and quietude is not different from activity because both are empty. When you are aware that both are empty, you are not swayed by activity nor do you attach yourself to quietude since you know that both are illusions. Then, you can be said to enjoy true quietude.
Student: “What is quietude like?”
Master: “It is as if one thousand bombs exploded at the same time.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/Aofvy