Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not-One is Also One, Part 11

by Scott Bradley

Continuing with the discussion from Zhuangzi, Chapter 6...

What is Walking Two Roads?

The sage uses various rights and wrongs to harmonize with others (he accepts the many ‘not-ones’), and yet remains at rest in the middle of Heaven the Potter’s Wheel (he himself transcends the ‘not-oneness’ of Humanity). This is called “Walking Two Roads”.

Previously, Zhuangzi has attempted to demonstrate that, since everyone has his or her ‘rights and wrongs’ and these differ according to who holds to them, in the end they are all ‘right’ and all ‘wrong’. These individuals do not understand this and thus abide in ‘not-oneness’. The sage, on the other hand, does understand this and is able to make their ‘not-one’ one. At the same time, the sage realizes that his ‘understanding’, his opinion, is yet one more opinion and thus itself partakes in ‘not-oneness’.

However, in the end, are not all these ‘not-onenesses’, those of the individuals who cannot see beyond their opinions and that of the sage who can, one, by virtue of their origination from Nature? If the multitude of different sounds emitting from a forest are all the product of the one Heavenly wind ( breath, qi) are they not, in the end, one? Let us look back at what man does.

Humanity has the capability of harmonizing with Reality or disharmonizing with Reality. But this disharmonizing, where does this capability come from? It originates in the givens of Reality. It is therefore ‘one’ with Reality whether it sees itself as ‘not-one’ or not. The sages of old Walked Two Roads in that in their oneness they were followers of the Heavenly. In their non-oneness, they were followers of the Human. They do not negate the twitterings of men in their opinions because they are not-one, this would be to have Heaven win out over the Human.

By realizing that these twitterings are also an expression of Reality they can be affirmed. Likewise, they do not see the not-oneness of the Human as the final word on oneness, this would be to have Humanity win out over Reality. Thus, they are able to follow along with the antics of Humanity, this being an expression of Reality, on the one hand, and yet simultaneously follow along with the all-embracing oneness of Reality, on the other.

Note: At the conclusion of this miniseries, a link will be provided for those interested in downloading or printing the entire document replete with footnotes.

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