Friday, December 9, 2011

Hsin-Hsin Ming VIII: Non-Duality

Scott Bradley

"When such dualities cease to exist / Oneness itself cannot exist. . . . / With a single stroke you are freed from bondage; . . . / To know this Reality directly / is possible only through practicing non-duality. / When you live this non-separation, / all things manifest the One, and nothing is excluded. . . . / Not here, not there— / But everywhere right before your eyes. . . . / Don't waste your time in arguments or discussion / attempting to grasp the ungraspable." (Clarke)

I have condensed a great deal here, so I would recommend you study it in context should you wish to explore it further.

We say 'non-dual' because, as previously stated with reference to Zhuangzi, "One and the saying make two." This is merely semantic, of course, but it does make the point.

The Zen vision of 'enlightenment' is primarily described as 'sudden', as opposed to gradual, although some concessions are often made to a gradual realization leading up to the sudden epiphany.

To experience non-duality, we are told, we must practice non-duality. This leaves us with the chicken/egg dilemma, but that may be the point. Breaking the mind's attachment to cause and effect becomes the breakthrough. Here is a gate.

Oneness means oneness; nothing is excluded. Another gate.

Nowhere in particular; yet in every particular. Another gate.

Realization is experiential; it is not intellectual, nor can it be attained through reason. Arguments and discussions about the nature of reality do not bring us any closer to it. Why do we argue? Should I argue for the non-dual position? Will that make me non-dual? Will it make you non-dual? It is only an idea. Living in the dualistic mind, ideas matter because they help to make me someone, someone 'right' in contrast to some-other 'wrong'. What would it be like to be utterly unconcerned with the opinions of others vis-à-vis my own? Perhaps even those opinions would fall away. And then I would float away; for these opinions are a great burden on my heart.

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


  1. The energy of arguing is not the spirit we should communicate with, but the absence of debate leaves our opinions only challenged by our ego-identity self. Not that I prescribe to having a teacher, but this is a good reason why one has a teacher. We need someone else besides our ego's challenging us.

  2. @Shawn

    The Hsin Hsin Ming has something interesting to say on this point (quoting it as it appears in the recent book we have published, One Essence):

    No need to search for truth;
    Only cease to cherish opinions.

    I'm not opposing the idea of having a teacher, but it seems to me that insight, or realization, implies being one's own teacher (a lamp unto oneself) - so why not start there? The point of having a teacher seems to be in the giving up of having a teacher, so why would we rather not begin there instead of projecting that as the future end?

    I came across this post today because I have a Google alert setup for the word "nonduality". Our publishing house has just published as mentioned above a book on the nonduality of the Hsin Hsin Ming by Robert Wolfe that I thought readers of this blog, and the scribes too, could be interested in: One Essence: The Nondual Clarity of an Ancient Zen Poem.

    The Hsin Hsin Ming, as Robert Wolfe notes in One Essence, is just as well described as a Taoist text. On the website, there is a free preview of the book and other free downloads.

    It would be interesting I think to get you and Robert together for a talk on the Hsin Hsin Ming. He is also the author of Living Nonduality.

  3. M,

    I think you mean it would be good to get Scott Bradley and Robert together for a talk. Scott is the author of this brief series on the Hsin Hsin Ming, not me. (I format and post Scott's work.)

  4. Thanks Trey - Didn't find a contact for Scott, so hope Scott will drop me a line: michael at karinalibary*com.

  5. M,
    All you need to do is click on his name in the left sidebar and your email program should open. At the very least, mouse over his name and you'll see his email address.


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