Harsh ascetic practice, it was clear,
Was torturing his figure to no purpose, and so the sage,
Wary of this cycle of becoming,
Resolved, in his longing for buddhahood:
"This is not a way to detachment,
Or to awakening, or to release;
The state I realized at the foot of the rose apple tree:
How I was then is surely the way to be.
And that mode of being, for one who is weak,
Is unattainable." So, soberly,
With a view to increasing his bodily strength,
On this, more deeply still, he reflected:
"Clapped-out by hunger, thirst, and fatigue,
A mind that, through fatigue, is not itself,
Is reaching for the fruit that is for a mind to enjoy:
But how, if the mind is uneasy, can it enjoy that fruit?
The joy of effortless ease is properly gained
From constant appeasement of the senses;
From senses that are well integrated and content,
The mind recovers its health.
When the mind is well and serene,
Physical balance asserts itself;
And when balance is in the harness of intelligence,
Zen practice gets going.
Teachings, through zen practice,
Are realised; and by those means is gained
The hard-won state of peace and agelessness --
That supreme, deathless state."
Food, therefore, is the foundation of this process,
A means-whereby. Having decided so,
He was steadfast in his taking of food --
He of unbounded mind had made up his mind.
Then in the supreme, imperturbable cross-legged posture --
Sleeping-serpent spirals enmeshed into a single mass -- he sat
As if to say, "I shall not break this position on the ground
Until I have done completely what is to be done."