Getting The Buddha Mind 131

At the beginning of the retreat I say: "Relax, relax, relax." Relax the body, the nerves, and the mind. If any problems come up, just relax and don't bother with them. If you feel any discomfort, relax. If you can stay relaxed, whenever a stray thought arises it will very naturally disperse. Eventually these thoughts will diminish. Don't try to suppress thoughts. If you do, your meditation will grow worse and worse. The most important thing is to relax and just concentrate on the present moment, that is, the method you are working on. Even practicing like this, the average person who is new to the retreat will not be able to fully settle down until the third day or so. Of course there are those who have a good practice who can settle down right from the start.

LH: But Shih-fu, one of the things I noticed on retreat with you is that you were actually firing me up, rather than asking me to relax. I felt that after the first couple of days, after I had relaxed a bit, you were encouraging me to work very hard. So how can you explain that difference-relaxing and working very hard?