Seon Master Mazu said, “The everyday mind is the Way.” The Way is in the mind of everyday life of eating, sleeping and working.
Even when studying by taking up hwadu, one can study properly as soon as the hwadu is clearly devoted to in the midst of everyday life. If basically one has resolved the mind well, one will have the preconditions for that. But in conditions where the mind is not resolute, it is not easy for the beginner to take up the hwadu properly while working in the midst of everyday life. The beginning practitioner must take up the hwadu earnestly and induce the mental resolution, discarding all worldly thoughts in a still and clean place.
It is easy for people to be seduced mentally by the various events they come into contact with in the course of everyday life. If so, one will be unable to sit at ease while the mind is always coming and going here and there. The Buddha said of the mind of sentient beings that it in taking the characteristic of busily moving that, “This characteristic of moving here and there is just like a monkey that cannot be still for even a moment.” Thus while people repeatedly have “I am busy, so busy” on their lips, they cannot have calm of mind, and rush about outside and only outside.
Our mind has become accustomed to such meaningless confusion. And so first of all one must be able to place the mind in the hwadu to calm the mind in that silent place. Without hesitation one must grasp hold of the illness of sentient beings that is confused and madly rampaging with the still mind. Therefore one must enter into and earnestly doubt and take up the hwadu in a quiet place. Doing this, even though one tries to put down the hwadu one cannot put it down, and even if one tries to abandon it, one cannot. At that time one can reach that state continuously with the mind in a quiet place. This is what is called “study in midst of calm.”
If one consistently studies in a quiet place, one has to foster even greater strength to study when one goes out to a noisy place. This is called “study in the midst of movement.”
There are times when one has taken up the hwadu well continuously in a quiet place and then has discontinued it in a noisy place and it becomes faint. At such times, if one pushes it very much and strains even more completely in a noisy place, and unrelated to whether it is a quiet or a noisy place, one in movement or calm continuously and consistently achieves the state of study. This is called movement and calm in one thusness. There are here no boundaries between study in the midst of movement and study midst calm. If one gains strength with the study midst calm, it is necessary to move straightaway to study midst movement. When one does not discontinue the hwadu whether it is moving or when it is still, then one can call it movement and calm in one thusness. And, if one always maintains the mental resolution, the point also that movement and calm are not divided up must be understood.
If one takes the quiet place to be right and considers the noisy place to be wrong, this is trying to find the form of reality and to get rid of the mundane life, and is the pursuit of a nirvana apart from rising and ceasing. Of course, once one studies well at quiet times, even when it is noisy, one can well study without change. And if the taking up of the hwadu has matured a bit, the noisy time becomes a good opportunity to gain even more strength than in times of quiet. One is a true practitioner only if one has gained strength at the time when one studies really midst everyday life. And further, one can be called a genuine student when one purely continues to study impartially no matter where or when it is noisy or calm.