I do not choose to do zazen as my "practice".
Here's my personal view.
If a tock a rock...lets say it weighed 10kg, and placed it on a mat....it's "mind" would be totally empty.
All right, it doesn't have a "mind" then, it's just a dumb rock.
But it's "nature" is totally empty.
So how long, just sitting there with an empty "nature" would it take that rock before it became a 10kg Buddha?
Obviously, it wouldn't.
Now, we have a sentient being, a human. This human sentient being sits on a mat in zazen and counts his or her breaths.
After some time there "mind" is totally "empty".
My question is, if that sentient human being keeps sitting on that mat with a totally empty "mind", how is that sentient being any different from that rock?
And if that rock doesn't become a Buddha, then why would that sentient human being ever become a Buddha either?
O.K. I understand why a beginner, perhaps unable to concentrate and with a mind racing about wildly, might be taught to do zazen to develop stillness and relax their mind. I can even acknowledge the value of a period of zazen for a more advanced practitioner to calm and quiet his or her mind in order to go on to other practices after he or she got into that calm an peaceful stillness state.
So my real question to those who do zazen repeatedly or every day is: so o.k., now you and the rock are the same.
But YOU are a sentient being, not a rock, So, for you, What is Next?
Zazen has it's purposes, but there is a time to go on to the next step. That's really all I am saying.
Once again, this is only my personal opinion, and others may disagree (and very likely will).
Which leads me to this poem I herad somewhere:
A monk sits in meditation on a mat, and will not lie down.
Or a corpse lies on the floor and can not sit up.
Tell me then, why are these both not mindless corpses?
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach