I thought I was a man and I sought the other half in a woman. But I had to break to realize that I were not a man but an enclosure. What I perceived as woman was nothing but what I had negated in the Self. The seeking was the gradual breaking, and when the vessel broke the inner and outer space were realized to be one indivisible space only imagined to be divided. My liberation was in my annihilation, and woman was nothing but a figment of my imagination.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those not attached to preferences. If you wish to know the truth, then hold to no opinions for or against anything. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.
When the fundamental nature of things is not recognized, the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail. The Way is as perfect as the vast space, where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess.
Indeed, it is due to our grasping and rejecting that we fail to see the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in ideas or feelings of emptiness. Be serene and at one with things and erroneous views will disappear by themselves.”
Jianzhi Sengcan, from Xinxin Ming
The student: What is the cause of this world?
The master: Ignorance.
The student: What is ignorance?
The master: It is confusing the seer with the seen.
The student: What is the seen?
The master: Everything.
The student: What is the seer?
The master: You are the seer.
The student: Who is confused?
The master: No one.
The student: Then, why is there ignorance?
The master: There is no ignorance.
The student: So how come there is a world?
The master: There is no world. What from afar appears to be the world from near is realized to be the Truth. “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.”*
The student: But I can see and hear the world!
The master: That Truth is that very seeing and hearing by which you find yourself wrapped in a world. The seen and the heard are naught; they are like the waves in the ocean, just water like the rest of it. Only water is real; wave is mere name and form, i.e. conditioned emptiness.
The student: Who am I then?
The master: You are the unconditioned Reality, the Knower of that emptiness. You are the answer to your own question. Don’t seek; see!**
The student: Whatever.
The master: Exactly. At once drop all notions and be happy; you are already perfect: You are unconditioned Reality. Notion is condition.
“We did not come to return; we have come to rise above.”
Man is a deep well connecting the oblivion of Godhead to the personified God. He is not something suspended in the abyss; he is the abyss itself. He seeks God, not knowing he is the very ground upon which God stands. The Absolute is void, and man fills this void by relative utterances of hopes and desires. Man seeks to be enlightened, not knowing that he is the light of the world.
Know thyself?! What is to be known, and who is to know it?
Ask yourself: Who is in there? Who is looking out into this world of empty appearances? And who is looking in? No “I” is to be found. Why? Because the “I” is the one always looking. How can anything be found where the only thing that is is seeking?
God became man so to find Himself as God, and yet in this becoming He lost himself in the midst of himself. He was a whole that has become a part. Dear, don’t give too much thought to this, for to think is to make apart. You have become too partitioned; your way back is to accept you are but a paradox.
God is never known if He doesn’t fall into pieces that can reflect His face. God remained unknown even to himself unless He becomes the other, the not-God, man. He becomes whole precisely through becoming partitioned. Man isn’t the fallen Adam; man is the fallen God.
Sit back, relax; this world has never come into being, neither did your beloved personhood. Look again deep into your own eyes and see the bottomless well that you are. Don’t be the ocean wave seeking its own source; the wave and the ocean are never apart; it is all water. Zoom in and you see only the wave, the separation; zoom out and you see only the ocean. This god of yours and its creation are akin to the ocean and its waves. How can one be without the other? They are one and the same.
You are crucified by your own beliefs. You are bound by your own bonds. Use this body only to surf this life. The surfer who thinks he is surfing the wave little knows that waves too are surfing him. Surfers don’t last; waves never cease to be. You are that wave and not the surfing body; you are the ocean itself.
These words too are nothing but waves; don’t dwell in them, for they too shall be forgotten. Words need meaning but meaning doesn’t need words. You too need no words, for you are that which is meant throughout all empty appearances. You are the inexpressible Reality.
I really liked the following quote which is quoted by Aldous Huxley in his book The Perennial Philosophy:
“Ga-San instructed his adherents one day: ‘Those who speak against killing, and who desire to spare the lives of all conscious beings are right. It is good to protect even animals and insects. But what about those persons who kill time, what about those who destroy wealth, and those who murder the economy of their society? We should not overlook them. Again, what of the one who preaches without enlightenment? He is killing Buddhism.”
From “One Hundred and One Zen Stories“