Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Not-One is Also One, Part 17

by Scott Bradley

Continuing with the discussion from Zhuangzi, Chapter 5...

How like Huizi are these shouters of No! Now you, on the other hand, treat your spirit like a stranger and labor your vitality. . . . Heaven chose your physical form, and here you are using it to crow on about ‘hardness’ and ‘whiteness’! In the end, is not this existentialist syllogism and its conclusion, the absurdity of humanity, yet another instance of bondage to the deliberate mind and its addiction to likes and dislikes? It is Human to find Reality disquieting. It is likewise Human to choose oneness, harmony and affirmation, or not-oneness, disharmony and negation. Choose as you will, for the not-one is also one.

And this affirmation, how is it realized in experience? How is it expressed? Yes! is an experience of utter and complete Surrender in Trust into the Mystery that is all that is. And this is the complete cessation of trying to add to the process of life. We add when we sense a lack. Yet it is this very lacking that is the gate through which the heart is called to pass in surrender. What do we lack? What does the snowman lack in a sudden, hot and glorious intimation of spring? All and nothing. The snowman abides on the other side of the gate, having never known anything of adding to the process of life. Zhuangzi would have us join him there.

Huizi, however, draws his sustenance not from the Heavenly, but from man. If he doesn’t add to the process of life, said he, how can his body be sustained? Dear friend Huizi, how is it you have so utterly failed to understand what is the process of life? Let us ask this duck and that deer how their bodies are sustained though they add nothing to the givens of their nature. “When hungry eat, when tired sleep,” says the Zen sage.

“Consider the lilies of the field,” said Jesus, “they neither spin nor weave, yet they are clothed in raiment surpassing that of kings.” This is the process of life. Man, humanity in its obstinate not-oneness, insists that he must attempt to control his destiny, must fight against fate, must stand opposed to Reality that would rob him of life and value, yet it is that Reality which alone sustains him. Reality gave Huizi his body and conscious experience, but he insists on belaboring (his) vitality, the gifted life within him, and on abiding within the restrictive boundaries of the understanding consciousness where Reality is made finite, disputable and divisible.

Minute and insignificant, he is just another man among the others. Vast and unmatched, he is alone in perfecting the Heavenly in himself. (Ziporyn) Such is Zhuangzi’s sage who has learned to freely flow along with and not obstruct the process of life and to thereby receive his sustenance from Heaven. Minute and insignificant. . . . Vast and unmatched, one does not come without the other. The comparison is not between the sage and other people, but between the sage as in the world and the sage as in himself.

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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