Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Ah!": Is the Non-Dual Free of Duality? Is Right View Different Than Wrong View?



(This is my response to a person I recently met on an online "chat board" devoted to Buddhism who claimed that Hakuin's "meditation-in-ACTION" is still dualistic, and that it is extremely important to proceed from the spontaneous "non-dual awareness" of satori to a fully understood "right view" of "Emptiness." Or, in a nutshell, that Zen isn't enough -- one must also study Madhyamika.)

BUT: I feel Hakuin's "meditation-in-ACTION" is not dualistic -- or rather, if it is dualistic it is just the inescapable Duality of the Non-Dual. I believe Hakuin-Zenji embodied what he meant on a poem-scroll where he describes pretty young girls returning from the tea fields with dirty feet and baskets of tea leaves, talking about getting a handsome husband. That's it! What else do you want?

(Note that by relying on my memory from seeing this scroll in the San Francisco Asian Art Museum I actually got the poem wrong. Either that, or it was translated differently. In any case, I spent my time gazing at the Enso itself and didn't pay much attention to the translation of the verses. As I found the poem on the Web, it actually goes like this:

Hammamatsu of Enshu
is a tea-growing district.
I want to marry off
my daughter there,
to pick fine tea leaves.


It's interesting how my mind turned it around so that for me the poem was about laughing young girls with dirty feet and baskets of tea leaves talking about wanting a husband!)

For Hakuin this scene in the tea-growing district was itself Realization, and there was nothing more to do about it, nothing to add or take away-- no "right view" or "wrong view."

Is gathering tea leaves right? Is getting a handsome husband wrong? Is the laughter of the girls right, wrong, both right and wrong, or neither right nor wrong?

Here we simply have Reality freed of fixation by labels.

Hakuin described his Great Satori thus: "The rhinoceros of Doubt fell over dead. It was just like looking at the palm of my hand, knowing it was the palm of my hand."

What is this kind of Great Knowing? Maybe it's even more wrong than right -- the inherent, confusing, demonic all-wrongness of Dualism as the free expression of Absolute Subjectivity, which can't be pinned down.

In comparison to That, emptiness has the color of dust. It's not even empty!

HOWEVER, my point was somewhat different than this. It's merely that after breakthrough to the non-dual, which you describe beautifully, one needn't stagnate in passivity nor study and develop a "right view." One can instead throw oneself into the maw of this life of battles and miracles with refreshed energy, intensity and resolve, like the samurai general who resolved Joshu's "Mu" and then, having conquered all his fears of death, like a ferocious tiger drove the Mongol invasion out of Japan.

Tiger-like samurai generals solving "Mu" before going into battle, laughing girls with dirty feet coming home with baskets of tea leaves -- AH! This universe even at its strangest and most appalling is simply brilliant, resounding, awesome, lucid and wonderful. Lazarus laughs, cherry blossoms fly between cold raindrops, mountains respond to the temple bell in the darkness, and all the teachers fall over dead.

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