2: The Process of Creation :
I was reading a book that was presented to me, entitled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I went through that book and found it is so interesting, and it gives us the whole technique of sadhana. ‘Zen’ is a Japanese word for meditation, which is dhyana in Sanskrit and chan in Chinese. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—you will be wondering what kind of subject this is. The complicated structure of the motorcycle consists of various parts, but usually we are not aware of their existence. We only want to push a button, sit on it, and then ride. But how this button works, how the motorcycle is running, how many parts are involved in it and their cooperative, harmonious activity, with so much affection—can we imagine the total action taking place through the multifarious parts that constitute the motorcycle? The maintenance of it involves, equally, a great attention paid to each and every part—cleaning every nut and bolt, and so on, to perfection, in the maintenance of a motorcycle. Our body may be compared to that motorcycle. Every little thing that we think, feel, act, understand, and are, is important for us. We cannot ignore any part of our personality. Everything is beautiful.
Zen considers everything as beautiful. When we sweep the floor, we are not doing a dirty act. It is a great art of perfection, neatness; and the broom is an object of attention, not simply a thing about which we can be callous. If we wash a vessel, it is a great art of attention in which we are engaging. So is the case with every action, whether it is cooking, preparing tea or offering anything to a guest that comes—a great art, great perfection, great beauty, and great totality. Everything is wonderful; this is Zen’s conception of all things in the world. Even a leaf on a tree, even a twig that is moving, all are beautiful. The twig is moving in the breeze, how beautiful! The leaf is moving, how beautiful! The sun is shining, how beautiful! The river is flowing, how beautiful! The mountain is standing, how beautiful! Why not say it is all beautiful, instead of saying it is all stupid? Zen does not accept that things are stupid.
Likewise, in the practice of sadhana there is no stupid thing in this world. Even our thoughts are not stupid; they have to be taken care of as our own children. We may have naughty children, but it does not matter, because they are our children. All children, even of the same parents, are different—one can totally differ from another in many respects—yet, they are to be taken care of as a single total in the family unit. In a similar manner are the ways in which we have to conduct ourselves in relation to the world. A little attention is to be paid to every thought that comes to the mind. Manana is only this much. If a thought comes, adore it, worship it. “My dear child, what do you want?” Why has this thought come to you? Give it what it wants; it will stop crying, and will go. But if you tell the thought, “Go, you idiot! I don’t want you,” it will come back yelling with greater force. Therefore, no thought should be brushed aside as unwanted, because it is our child. It has come through our brain, and we are throwing it away. It arises because of a necessity. It will not come unnecessarily. We should understand that necessity by paying careful psychoanalytical attention to it. All thoughts are our thoughts, not somebody else’s, so we cannot reject them unless we reject a part of ourselves, which cannot be done. Yoga is not a rejection of any particular, but an inclusion of all things in a total whole, with a beautiful vision of all their existences, just as in Zen. That is sadhana.