Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hsin-Hsin Ming IV: Truth Without Truth

Scott Bradley


"If you wish to know the truth, / then hold to no opinions about anything. / To set up what you like against what you dislike / is the disease of the mind. . . . / Indeed, it is due to our grasping and rejecting / that we do not know the true nature of things. . . . / Be serene and at one with things / and erroneous views will disappear of themselves."

“Do not seek for the truth; / only cease to cherish opinions.” (Clarke)

Zhuangzi makes an argument for the vast freedom of non-specificity and non-commitment by way of a zither player. The greatest musician, by the very act of his playing, excludes all the infinite other possible tunes. By attaching to one thing, we exclude all others. What if, he implies, we could embody an attitude wherein all is included and nothing excluded—would that not be a vastness where we could wander free and unfettered? "If you wish to know the truth" . . . know none. Every chosen 'this' excludes infinite 'thats'. Zhuangzi's vision was to affirm every 'this', everything he encountered, and thereby be free of attachment to any.

Discrimination, inclusion and exclusion, is the disease of the mind. It is the discriminating mind, after all. It really has no other choice, poor thing. This is how it works. You, me, tree, rock, universe, The One — each is a discrete thing and can only be understood as such. But something is understood, nonetheless. What a wonderful development. Only there is more. And our freedom lies in realizing it.

And now we come to the means to this end. "Be serene and at one with things" and then you will . . . be serene and at one with things. Hmm. Surely there must be a 'this' that transcends every 'that'-excluding-'this'? A method? A way? The Way? All that Seng-Ts'an seems to say is Just Be It™.

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

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