Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Clear Oneness of Heaven I

Scott Bradley

You temporarily get involved in something or other and proceed to call it 'myself' — but how can we know if what we call 'self' has any 'self' to it? You dream you are a bird and find yourself soaring in the heavens, you dream you are a fish and find yourself submerged in the depths. I cannot even know if what I am saying now is a dream or not....But when you rest securely in your place in the sequence, however things are arranged, and yet separate each passing transformation from the rest, then you enter into the clear oneness of Heaven.
(Zhuangzi, 6:50-1; Ziporyn)

I return to this passage because it so wonderfully encompasses the essence of Zhuangzi's Daoism. I would burn incense to this. I must be getting religious. Yet what makes one weep for the sheer joy of freedom, surely must arouse thankfulness. One can vanish here. It is not from these words, nor Daoism, nor Zhuangzi — it is experience from which thankfulness arises.

Yet I feel reticent to even discuss it further. Doesn't it say all that need be said? Yet again, perhaps a few words would help me to experience it further.

Just as Zhuangzi tells us that our understanding consciousness is "peculiarly unfixed", having absolutely no guarantor, so too we discover the unfixity of our identity. Releasing our grasp on apparitions in the mist, we become and vanish into that mist. The clear oneness of Heaven is this. A mist that is also clear? It is the "Shadowy Splendor". It is that which is and fills all without being anything. It is the clarity of openness. The clarity of fullness. The clarity of emptiness. It is not 'about' Heaven; it is not 'out there'; it is in here, where nothing is grasped, because there is no one to do the grasping.

Released into the Vastness, unknown, undefined, unfixed — there is nothing to be but vastness.

But wait. Someone's here. Yes. Let that 'someone' glory in that experience, rejoice in having a transient place in the sequence, affirming utterly each passing transformation, riding the wave of transient existence until it settles again into Vastness. How could this apparent not-oneness be other than Oneness? When all is Transformation, how could we wish to be otherwise?

"However things are arranged" they are of no consequence. Human, bird, fish...living, dead...sick, well...happy, sad...on what do you depend when you are vastness?

The usual disclaimers apply.

You can check out Scott's writings on Zhuangzi here.

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