The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Mu" who?

A monk asked Joshu, “has a dog the Buddha Nature?” Joshu answered “Mu”

This is one of those zen sayings that lets me know where my head is on any given day. Originally, it seemed like nonsense. Then I got it. And now, on days when I lose my balance, I “understand” it, which is definitely not the same thing. This isn’t accurate, but it’s kind of descriptive: on my less balanced days, it is as if my ego is too big to slip through the crack in my world illusion. The “explanation” has to do with not-this, not-that: that if you answer either “yes” or “no” to this question, you have fallen into precisely the wrong state of mind. But “understanding” that this is the right answer, is very different from “getting it”--actually seeing and feeling that falling onto either side of the dualistic response denies the full view. Of course, that’s another duality right there, right? “Full” as opposed to “not-Full.” The problem (as opposed to “not-problem”? Hah!) is that that part of your mind, or way of thinking, operates that way, and has no option. The direct perception of reality has to move beyond this without being attached to having done so.

Like I said, I know that I’m balanced on the days when statements such as the above flow effortlessly, and feel as solid as a rock. The rest of the time, I just “understand” it, which is stale cheese indeed.

No comments: