As for why various people feel the need to sit in meditation can be different for every individual. With a worldly mind it is for temporary benefits, like health and removing stress. With a sravaka mind it is for attaining liberation from samsara. With a bodhisattva mind it is for becoming a buddha and liberating all beings. There is no higher intention than bodhicitta.
Curious. What do you think of Linji himself sitting zazen, but at the same time, saying the below?
"Those who have fulfilled the ten stages of bodhisattva practice are no better than hired field hands; those who have attained the enlightenment of the fifty-first and fifty-second stages are prisoners shackled and bound; arhats and pratyekabuddhas are so much filth in the latrine; bodhi and nirvana are hitching posts for donkeys"
As for attainment of liberation, how does that match up to what it says in Chp 17 of diamond sutra?
" "What do you think, Subhuti? In ancient times, when the Buddha was living with Dipankara Buddha, did he attain anything called the highest, most fulfilled, and awakened mind?"
"No, Most Honored One. According to what I understand from the teachings of the Buddha, there is no attaining of anything called the highest, most fulfilled, and awakened mind."
The Buddha said:
"You are correct, Subhuti. In fact, there does not exist any so-called highest, most fulfilled, and awakened mind that the Buddha attains. Because if there had been any such thing, Dipankara Buddha would not have predicted of me, 'In the future, you will come to be a Buddha known as The Most Honored One'. This prediction was made because there is, in fact, nothing to be attained. Someone would be mistaken to say that the Buddha has attained the highest, most fulfilled, and awakened mind because there is no such thing as a highest, most fulfilled, or awakened mind to be attained." "
And Chp 31?
"Subhuti, when people begin their practice of seeking to attaining total Enlightenment, they ought to see, to perceive, to know, to understand, and to realize that all things and all spiritual truths are no-things, and, therefore, they ought not to conceive within their minds any arbitrary conceptions whatsoever."
Which of course includes the conception of "there is something to attain"
And the heart sutra's "no attainment with nothing to attain, no suffering, no path", etc.?
Seung Sahn used to say "Wanting enlightenment is a big mistake!" Do you think he's wrong?
As for bodhicitta. How does bodhicitta match up with Chp 3 of the diamond sutra?
"All living beings, whether born from eggs, from the womb, from moisture, or spontaneously; whether they have form or do not have form; whether they are aware or unaware, whether they are not aware or not unaware, all living beings will eventually be led by me to the final Nirvana, the final ending of the cycle of birth and death. And when this unfathomable, infinite number of living beings have all been liberated, in truth not even a single being has actually been liberated."
"Why Subhuti? Because if a disciple still clings to the arbitrary illusions of form or phenomena such as an ego, a personality, a self, a separate person, or a universal self existing eternally, then that person is not an authentic disciple."
And Chp 25
"Subhuti, do not say that the Buddha has the idea, 'I will lead all sentient beings to Nirvana.' Do not think that way, Subhuti. Why? In truth there is not one single being for the Buddha to lead to Enlightenment. If the Buddha were to think there was, he would be caught in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a universal self. Subhuti, what the Buddha calls a self essentially has no self in the way that ordinary persons think there is a self. Subhuti, the Buddha does not regard anyone as an ordinary person. That is why he can speak of them as ordinary persons."
And also Huang-po's statements in The Wan-Ling Record?
Question: "Does the Buddha really save or rescue all sentient beings?" The master said: "There are really no sentient beings to be saved by Tathagata. Since there is, in reality, neither self nor non-self, how then can there be a Buddha to save or sentient beings to be saved?"
Question: "There are thirty-two Laksanas, that traditionally purport to save all sentient beings, so how can we say that there are no sentient being?" The master said: "Everything with form is unreal. If all form is seen as unreal, then the Taghagata will be perceived, Buddha, sentient beings and the infinite variety of forms all are generated by your false view, whereby you do not understand the Original Mind. If you retain a view even of Buddha as real, then even Buddha is an obstacle! If you grasp a view of sentient beings as real, then sentient beings are also obstacles. If you hold a view that labels phenomena as worldly, holy, pure, dirty, etc., this is also an obstacle to enlightenment. Because of these obstacles in your mind, you transmigrate along the six illusory paths, becoming fixed to the wheel of transmigration, just as a monkey picks up one object and lets go of another in never-ending, habitual, monotonous repetition.
Does Huang-po have bodhicitta?
Also, what happens to bodhicitta when one would believe "There is really nothing there that is real to save beings from to begin with" which would mean they aren't in any real danger to begin with therefore they really don't need to be saved because there is nothing to save them from, which would essentially mean they already are saved. What would happen to bodhicitta then?
Of course all this is kind of off topic of "western zen" but I'm curious as to what you think.
What else is there to do?
Do you mean one engages in Buddhist practices because there's nothing else to do? Like, one could as well play football or read a novel, depending on the weather.
Kind of, if one has no need or desire to play football and no need or desire to read novels, no need or desire to sit around watching tv, etc. But of course there is still washing dishes, cooking food and doing laundry because those are things that do need to be done.