Friday, October 28, 2011

Finding Nothing

Finding Nothing
by Scott Bradley


Bodhidharma's first disciple, Hui-k'o, came to him and said, "My mind has no peace; please put it to rest." Bodhidharma replied, "Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest." Hui-k'o exclaimed, "I have searched, but I cannot find it!" "There," retorted Bodhidharma, "I have put it to rest!" Hui-k'o had satori.

Since this is mythological, I paraphrase as I please.

I have at hand a book of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi in which he expounds upon the realization of Self through the 'simple' repetition of the question, "Who am I?" The implication is that there is something there to find; I am Self and Self is the Ultimate. His sweet smiling face nearly convinces me.

Most Zen teachers advocate discovering our 'original nature', our Buddha-nature. Again, there is something to find.

Bodhidharma, on the other hand, seemed to advocate finding that there is nothing to find. Hui-k'o could have just as easily spent his time asking himself, "Who am I?" And when he failed to find it, Bodhidharma's retort would have been the same. "You have found where peace is found." This echoes his answer to the Emperor Wu's question, "Who the hell do you think you are?" "I don't know," replied Bodhidharma.

Find your way to nothing.
There is nothing for you to find.
Surrender is the triumph of the heart.

Like so many sayings of Chen Jen, this one both inspires and embarrasses me. They contain wisdom, but written by one who does not embody them, they are also seem trite. Nevertheless, the dialectic goes on.

Some find it in something. Some find it in nothing. Most don't find it at all.

Some see it in the light. Some see it in the dark. Most abide in twilight.

Some find it in pain. Some find it in joy. Most avoid too much of either.

Who am I, and who is anyone else, to discriminate between them?

My way finds nothing, but hesitates to say there is nothing there to find. Instead, it says that nothing need be found. Not-finding is as sure a path as finding, if it leads to an open heart.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

1 comment:

  1. I'm waiting for Scott to shut up and realize he is Chen Jen dreaming he is a sand worm.

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