Worldly Activity and Spiritual Practice are Not-Two
Delusion arises because of conceptualization, not because of worldly activity. Awakening occurs by ceasing conceptualization, not by ceasing worldly activity. All the myriad things are nothing but the one mind, the unnamable void. In the reality of the one mind, all things are pure and clear, without gain, without loss. Does being deluded in a quiet mountain monastery have some advantage to being deluded anywhere else? What would be the use of that? If you cease dualistic thinking, you will awaken. If you do not, then isolating yourself in a quiet setting and sitting for long periods is just adding delusion to delusion.
Contemporary teachers who proclaim some benefit in this kind of withdrawal from the world are usually the only beneficiaries. Before you pay your membership fees, compare their words to those of the ancient sages that have stood the test of time. Repeatedly, the sages have declared the truth that trying to run away from delusion only adds to delusion.
The Third Ancestor of Zen in China said, “Your effort to suppress activity is just more activity.” It is delusory to discriminate between worldly and spiritual, secular and religious, lay and monastic, the marketplace and a retreat center. Trying to suppress the flow of thought by changing your environment is like trying to make something disappear by closing your eyes.