How do we understand non-duality or oneness without
destroying the uniqueness of particular things? How do we understand non-duality or oneness without holding
on and solidifying particular things?
In the Yin-yang symbol, there is a dot of black in the white side, and a
dot of white in the black side.
From Harmony of
Difference and Sameness (Sandokai):
In the light there is
don’t take it as darkness;
In the dark, there is
don’t see it as light.
Light and Dark oppose
the front and back foot in walking.
This is the paradoxical practice of Zen. How can we take care of the ordinary
things and people in our daily life with care and attentiveness and still
understand and know their impermanence?
In practicing these two views simultaneously, we can come to understand
freedom and to completely inhabit our one precious and unique human life. They mutually support each other and
yet retain their distinctive qualities.
We don’t call something that is white, black and yet we understand that
white and black share the same essence.
This understanding defines a good Zen practice. We take care of cause and effect from
the basis of operation of boundless, timeless, open awareness.
From the Diamond sutra: Buddha takes care of
his everyday actions of wearing his robe, eating, washing his feet, and sitting
down from the vantage point of never stopping to manifest the marvelous
workings of his true mind.
From the Book of Serenity #40:
Although the mirror is
It has a back and a
Only the jade works
With the technique of
I have always liked the weaving loom as a metaphor for
weaving the absolute and relative together into one cloth. The absolute can be the warp, the
relative can be the woof, and the shuttle or the jade works, can spin them all together into one cloth. It’s not that we have to make them into
one cloth, they are always manifesting together in simultaneous realization.
The jade works is the activity
of life itself, the total dynamic functioning of the activity of the
universe. Sometimes translated
as: The Whole Works. Always
right here. All-at-oneness.
When we see the world from the vantage point of
all-at-oneness, always right here, we can be said to be like a pearl in a
bowl. Flowing with every turn
without any obstructions or stoppages coming from our emotional reactions to
different situations. This is a
very commonly used image in Zen – moving like a pearl in a bowl.
As usual, our ancestors comment on this phrase, wanting to
break open our solidifying minds even more.
Working from Dogen’s fascicle Shunju, Spring and Autumn, we have an example of opening up even
the Zen appropriate phrase – a pearl in a bowl.
Editor of the Blue Cliff Record Engo ( Yuan Wu) wrote:
A bowl rolls around a
pearl, and the pearl rolls around the bowl.
The absolute in the
relative and the relative in the absolute.
The present expression
“a bowl rolls around a pearl” is unprecedented and inimitable, it has rarely
been heard in eternity. Hitherto,
people have spoken only as if the pearl rolling in the bowl were ceaseless.
Labels: a pearl in a bowl, absolute and relative, Book of Serenity #40, Diamond sutra, Dogen, Harmony of difference and sameness, Shunju, Spring and Autumn, the Whole Works, total dynamic functioning