“What is the purpose of life?” I asked many old people in the hospital this question, or “What did you get out of life?” and many said, “Nothing.” Maybe they have a good job, good family, good wife or husband, but these things cannot help them now. They want something they cannot have, and they understand this, so they say, “Nothing”. This is understanding nothing. But understanding cannot help them, so they are suffering.
Zen means attain this nothing mind. The Buddha said, ‘If you keep clear mind moment by moment, then you will get happiness everywhere.”
Zen is attaining this nothing mind, and using this nothing mind. How can you use it? Zen means making this nothing mind into big-love mind. Nothing mind means no “I, my, me”, no hindrance. So this mind can change to Great Compassion mind, action-for-all-people mind. This is possible.
Nothing mind does not appear, does not disappear. So moment by moment, it is possible to keep your correct situation. Then your mind is like a mirror—when you are with your patients, only become one. Then helping them is possible. When you are with your family, only become one; then understanding what is best for them is clear. Just like this.
–Zen Master Seung Sahn