by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
When Zhouzi found two monks squabbling in the courtyard, he asked what the problem was. This guy's a blockhead, said one. You're both blockheads, replied Zhouzi and walked on. But then he turned and added, And so am I. So what?
This simple "So what?" is, for me, an incredible invitation to freedom and joy. It is a gate standing wide at the heart of Zhouzi's Simple Way.
It means that there has never been any separation between us and Reality. Awakening is not about becoming something other than what we already are, as we are, but of realizing that it is already true in us. Understanding this as a concept may be a first step toward true understanding, but not until it has sucked you through and turned you inside out is it true for you. Still, the radiance beckons by way of intimations of that freedom and joy, and if we find ourselves unable to pass through, we can at least glory in these happy inklings.
There is something especially heartening and endearing that the Master himself (fictitious though he be) identified himself with the squabbling monks. Surely this must have brought the message home as no mere words could have done. The 'cause' of his awakening was not the transformation of his character; the transformation of his character was the result of his awakening. And the realization of this was itself the way to his awakening.
Zhouzi would have us transcend the tyranny of right and wrong, with its concomitant manifestations of guilt and blame (the incrimination of self and others), and of success and failure (the belief in an only conditional self-worth).
There are many gates — as many as there are things in the world, moments in time, or thoughts in the mind — this is but one.
You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.