No America, No Russia

March 24, 1977


Dear Jim,

Thank you for your letter. How are you?

You ask me to recommend a practice or meditation. So I ask you, what do you want? If you want something, you don't understand correct meditation. Then I ask you, what are you? If you understand, then you understand your correct way. If you don't understand, then you must keep 100% don't know mind. Any time, any place. Only go straight. Don't check your feelings, don't check anything. Only don't know.

Zen is not dependent on Buddha, not dependent on God, not dependent on sutras or any Zen Master. Depend on your true self. This is the correct way.

You talk about politics and world problems.. What is good? What is bad? Good and bad have no self-nature. But many people make good and bad and become attached to their good and bad. So good and bad is only their opinion. Americans' opinions are made by American society and politics; Russians' opinions are made by their society and politics. So if America says good, Russia says bad; if Russia says good, America says bad. Why? Their opinions are different. So good and bad are different. What is correct good? What is correct bad? Russians and Americans are attached to their opinions, so they fight. In each society, within each person, it is the same -- belittling, fighting, quarreling. If you make your opinion, your situation, and your condition disappear, then your mind, my mind, everybody's minds are the same. Then there is no American, no Russian, no Chinese, no Japanese, no Korean. Same eyes, same ears, same nose, same mouth, same body, same mind. Then world peace. So Zen is first making your opinion, your situation, and your condition disappear. Then you will get the correct opinion, correct situation, correct condition.

The name for this is clear mind. Many people have no clear mind. Their karma controls them. If you have clear mind, you can control your karma, so no more fighting. That is the true way.

An eminent teacher said, "If you want to understand the realm of the Buddha, keep a mind which is clear like space." So let all thinking, all external desires fall away. Then your mind can function without hindrance.

So what is keeping a mind which is clear like space? Its name is don't know. Don't know already cuts off all thinking. Cut-thinking mind is empty mind; empty mind is before thinking. Your before-thinking mind is your substance, my before-thinking mind is my substance. Then your substance, my substance and universal substance are the same. When you keep don't know, you are everything, and everything is you. You and everything become one. This is called primary point.

So don't know is not don't know -- don't know is primary point. Primary point's name is don't know. But somebody says, primary point is mind, or Dharma, or God, or substance, or nature, or the Absolute, or energy, or everything. But primary point has no name, no form, no words, no speech. Only when you keep don't know mind, then you are everything, everything is you.

So I ask you: the tree and you, are they the same or different? If you say, "the same," I will hit you thirty times; if you say, "different,'' I will also hit you thirty times. What can you do? If you don't understand, only go straight, don't know. Sometime, ask the tree. Then the tree will teach you everything. The tree is better than me, better than Buddha, or the sutras.

You say you want transformation. This is correct. But one more step is necessary. Zen is the revolution of our minds. Then we break all worlds of opposites and become the absolute world. Then everything is complete, equal -- perfect freedom. Communism is only outside revolution. Zen is both inside and outside revolution: inside and outside become one. Then your mind is clear like space, like a mirror. Red comes: red. White comes: white. When you see the sky, only blue. When you see the tree, only green. Just like this. Just like this is truth. So everyday mind is Zen mind. When you are hungry, just eat. When you are tired, just sleep. Only this. Don't make anything, don't check anything. Then you will get everything.

I hope you always keep a mind which is clear like space, soon find your true self, get Enlightenment, and save all people from suffering.

Yours in the Dharma,