Friday, December 9, 2011

Hsin-Hsin Ming VII: All Is Well

Scott Bradley

"When the mind exists undisturbed in The Way, / there is no objection to anything in the world; / and when there is no objection to anything, / things cease to be—in the old way. . . / Let go of things as separate existences / and mind too vanishes. / Likewise when the thinking subject vanishes / so too do the objects created by the mind." (Clarke)

Needless to say, this entire document speaks of a reality way beyond my own experience and thus I only share it as something which inspires me to consider a different way of being. And this selection above especially brings that fact all the more home.

The very idea that there could be "no objection to anything in the world" is itself revolutionary. This is, of course, the 'all is well' and 'Yes!' formulas I so often mouth. Yet somehow hearing it here in this way renews it as an incredible challenge.

If things are not imagined as concretely other, the discriminating mind also disappears as a concrete self. The self is but one 'thing' among others, and if one can realize that 'thingness' is imagined, then self vanishes along with every other 'thing'. Conversely, when the mind ceases to see itself as an entity, all things likewise lose their otherness. What is there to object to?

This awareness is described as emptiness. But I think we would be creating a serious distraction for ourselves were we to imagine this in metaphysical terms. It is not a question of whether the mind creates reality or not; it is a question of how the mind orients itself to 'reality'. Zen does sometimes go too far, I think, and pronounces upon the nature of 'Reality', relegating it to a creation of mind. However, this is not a philosophical understanding of Reality, but an experiential one.

Similarly, to have "no objection to anything in the world" need not become an ethical problem. I say this because such an issue immediately arises for me. It's as if I were possessed by a primary moral filter that would disallow any way of being in the world not immediately defined by right and wrong. This is, of course, an attribute of the discriminating mind. But this has nothing to do with ethics. It has to do with a more fundamental affirmation of reality. And out of this, the concerns of moral judgment co-incidentally emerge.

Emptiness is also vastness. Vastness is not a spatial phenomenon, but an experiential one. Picture your heart as a three-masted schooner tethered to the dock by the ropes of the discriminating mind, self and other, this and that, good and bad. She tugs at her lines, longing to sail free on a vast and empty sea of freedom. The Hsin-Hsin Ming is an invitation to let go those lines.

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

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