Effortless Enlightenment: 5 Pieces of Advice from Lin-Chi

Credit: oselshenphenling.blogspot.com

By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

Most ‘conscious’ people know by now that the love and spiritual awareness they seek are found within, and we’ll make ourselves miserable if we search for them in the external world. Once we understand the futility of searching for these qualities in the world and discover them within, we can appreciate the earth for its beauty and the lessons it teaches us.

While the earth is a wonderful place, we’ll be disappointed if we scour it for enlightenment instead of relaxing and letting our awareness flow from within, with no resistance or restriction. Even when we’re in nature, we have to already be somewhat connected to get the most out of the experience.

Here, we’ll look at five quotes from Lin-Chi about bringing an end to our search and turning within for enlightenment. As we’ll learn, we really don’t need to search for anything because love and awareness lie in our recognition of the value of the present moment. When we realize that these qualities come from within, we learn to stop seeking them and let them naturally surface.

I think this is the best way to find enlightenment, and plenty of people who’ve experienced its benefits would agree.

Lin-Chi. Credit: poetseers.org

1. Look Within

“If you want to be no different from the patriarchs and the buddhas, then never look for something outside yourselves. … And simply because you do not rush around seeking anything outside yourselves, you can command these fine faculties.”

The source of our misery is our apparent need to look for love or spirit in the external world, and we can bring an end to this unnecessary struggle by understanding that while the world has a lot to offer, it isn’t the solution to our spiritual sickness.

The solution is to look within, which is still difficult for most people because they haven’t discovered their spirituality. Most people avoid looking within because they don’t think they have any reason to, but their lives would drastically change if they could awaken to the infinite dimensions that exist beyond the mind and rediscover unconditional love.

2. The Buddha Is Not the Goal

“Followers of the Way, don’t take the Buddha to be some sort of ultimate goal. In my view he’s more like the hole in a privy.”

True enlightenment comes when we have no more goals and we can relax into the present moment.

When I’m in a store or at the doctor’s office and there’s a long wait, it usually doesn’t bother me. In fact, I cherish the time I get to spend doing nothing, and I always appreciate the little meditation it produces.

We enjoy relaxing and being free of responsibility because it’s our natural state of being, and the more we give ourselves permission to enjoy this state, the more profound its impact on us will be. The best way to get there is to stop striving for anything, including enlightenment, and when we do, the energy and insight will flow through in a way it never could before.

3. Don’t Be a Blockhead

“People who try to do something about what is outside themselves are nothing but blockheads.”

Instead of focusing on how we can solve all of our problems, let’s give them to our higher consciousness with the knowledge that the perfect solutions will appear to us.

The best solutions are found in a good meditation or in releasing our grip on them and letting the insight flow, and as long as we search for solutions in the world, we’ll make our journey harder than it needs to be and consistently disappoint ourselves.

After so much failure and disappointment, we’ll eventually understand that the solutions, like everything else we seek, live within. Then, we can get on the right track and open ourselves to the guidance we’re always being given, from Source and our higher consciousness, and we’ll delight in the fact that our struggle is finally over.

We’ll realize how silly it was to look for answers outside of ourselves, and we’ll be glad we became aware of our inner realms and reconnected with the source of our intuitive guidance.

4. Reawaken to the Realm That Leans on Nothing

“The buddhas are born from the realm that leans on nothing. If you can waken to this leaning on nothing, then there will be no Buddha to get hold of.”

We came from nothingness, and nothingness is our ultimate destination. This might sound unsettling for some, especially those who are new to the spiritual path, but in this nothingness lies an infinite wellspring of love, bliss and true spiritual awareness.

The difference between ‘true’ spiritual awareness and any other kind that this level of awareness can only be found when we rejoin the Divine Father and become a part of the All once again, surrendering our sense of separation and duality to be one with all of creation.

As long as we search or we have some kind of goal, we distance ourselves from this ultimate destination. When we give up the need for goals and learn to simply be, however, our awareness comes flooding back in and we can show the way for others who struggle with their own self-imposed limitations.

5. Don’t Join With (or Depart From) the Mind

“Seeking outside for some Buddha possessing form – “This hardly becomes you! “If you wish to know your original mind, “Don’t try to join with it, don’t try to depart from it.”

The mind and ego take a lot of flak in the spiritual community, but understanding the mind is the first step to understanding its place in the big picture.

If we embrace it and its constant thoughts and judgments, we’ll trap ourselves in a limited existence of our own creation. If we desperately try to depart it and enter into a higher or more spiritual experience, we’ll fail to see its place in the big picture and utilize, from a higher stance, the help it could otherwise give.

The mind is a companion that allows us to navigate the lower vibrations, and there’s no sense in trying to leave it behind while we’re still on earth. Instead, we can make peace with it and use meditation to get to a space beyond it that allows us to become aware of it in a new way, and thus, detach from it.

As long as we have a conflict with the mind, we’ll hold ourselves back from the vibrant reality we can tap into. As long as we convince ourselves that love or happiness can only be found in society, we’ll keep ourselves from the inner connection that reminds us that we’re spiritual beings.

The best path is the path of nonattachment – to this reality or any ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ one – because it allows us to give up the need to search or strive for anything. It teaches us to enjoy life no matter what comes our way, and it reminds us that we’ve never needed to try so hard.

We’re returning to love as we bring our spiritual search to an end and invite our awareness to make itself known, and we’ll know we’ve made progress when we can be constantly heart-centered and tackle the challenges life gives us with ease.

True heart-centeredness is the recognition that everything is perfect the way it is, and we don’t always need to change things or restlessly search our consciousness for the inner gifts that can only arise when we’re in a calm, accepting frame of mind.

Let’s relax and enjoy life, and let’s invite our creator and our higher consciousness to take part in the fun.


  1. Lin-Chi [Rinzai], The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi. Trans. Burton Watson. Boston and London: Shamballa, 1993, 24.
  2. Ibid., 76.
  3. Ibid., 31.
  4. Ibid., 36.
  5. Ibid., 62.

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