Saturday, November 9, 2013

Which India?

Hello All,
Although I think this current dialog strayed into very deep and thick weeds, clearly there was a reason for it. This teacher obviously knew his student and so knew when to hold, when to push and when to strike. Ch'ing-yuan clearly saw the jewel sparkling in his young student and he tried various means, hoping Shih-t'ou would notice his own luster. Ch'ing-yuan raised his whisk and Chu-chih stuck up his finger. Sakyamuni twirled a flower and Hung-jen struck the mortar 3 times. Each was presenting and pointing in his or her own way to what can never be avoided.
If the teacher raised her whisk and asked you...does this exist in Seattle, in Skagit, in Portland, in the Palouse...what would you say? What would you do?
How about if she asked...does this exist in Ultima Thule, in the netherlands, in hell? Now, what would you say. What would you do?

The raven is constantly presenting it, so are the owls and the, too, are the rocks and stones; the demons and guardians; the trees and bushes. It is continually and continuously looking out of your very own eye sockets.

Later in his life, Shih-t'ou wrote, "Though people may be sharp witted or dull, there is no north or south in the Way." There is no T'sao-Chi or India, no here or there in the Way. "The deep spring sparkles in the pure light, its branches streaming through the darkness." There it is. And there & there. A whisk, a birdcall, the dripping of rain...the silence of ravens at night. And all of this interacts without interaction, just as waves interact with the ocean without any interaction. How could it be otherwise?

But the young man didn't yet know this and he said, "Not only no such thing at T'sao-Chi but also there is none in India." The teacher immediately pounced and asked, "You haven't been to India, have you?" Which India, I wonder, is  Ch'ing-yuan asking about? Is it the same India Shih-T'ou just referenced? Or is the teacher asking about the homeland of the Buddha, and if so, which buddha? Later on, Shih-t'ou wrote, "Turn around the light, then just return. The vast inconceivable force can't be faced or turned away from." Which India? Can you touch it? Feel it?

When we slip into our discursive and thinking minds and consider that to be reality, we imagine India to be 1000's of miles away and we assume that the Buddha lived in another age. Earlier Shih-t'ou misunderstood his teacher and heard him say, 'Go and think'. Shih-t'ou is again taking refuge in his thoughts rather than in the bare fact that his teacher is presenting right before him. Shih-t'ou continues to look behind his eyes, when the fact is always before---before eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind. It is before thought, sensation, and feeling. It is before us not after or behind. And what is right before us is a 10 ft sq. hut which includes the entire world. In fact, this very body, includes and is the entire world....

So please enjoy your time together discussing India's true location and I look forward to seeing you at Kairos next week for our autumn retreat.

take care


1 comment :

  1. Once the dharma is pronounced through words it brings with it a culture... a Buddhist culture or a Shamanistic culture or an Advaita culture...a Hindu culture or a Sufi culture. All have embedded cultural markers that the words depend upon, and even though the true dharma is beyond and before culture, these pointers require ones ability to stand upright upon these cultural markers in order for perception of truth occur. If one teeters and slips, not understanding the cultural significance that these markers rely upon, one can take a divergent path, searching within a cultural stew for their grounding, lost from the simple view.
    One might say that these markers have a beauty to them and are elegant as spiritual-cultural landmarks, yet I've found that as an initiate there is the danger that one mistakes these cultural riddles for the riddle of dharma itself, thus sidetracking one needlessly and maybe endlessly.
    When the dharma is pronounced through the haunting echo of a loon call reverberating within the stillness, the possibility of confusion is a simpler equation. The clearing here is not a mental matter with all of the tangles of cultural nuance and conceptual distractions, it is simply a matter of relinquishment, which was the simple way from the beginning. Thanks, Robert


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