“If all the waves of the Zen stream were alike, innumerable ordinary people would get bogged down.”
Zen prides itself on tradition and not getting bogged down by dogma, by words, or by inane practices. Zen would prefer to be handed down teacher to student, person to person, then attempted to be learned from a book.
If every student of Zen was forced to ride along and traverse the same waves as every other student, these students would be hindered as we are all different. When we are all different, we learn differently, we understand differently. Say we wish all of our students to be a healthy weight. To get there we don’t tell them they must all lose weight. What if half of them are too skinny? Half need to lose weight, half need to gain weight. Reaching a goal or understanding Zen may have a different path for everyone.
We must know there is not just one right path to understanding Zen, or to becoming enlightened or awaked to our true nature. We are all Buddhas already, we were already of our true nature, we just have to return to it. We must understand this, and we must understand that we will only become enlightened when we stop trying to become enlightened. Drop the illusions, do not get bogged down.