ALL THINGS ZEN


AN OPEN WINDOW INTO THE UNDERSTANDING OF ZEN


JIJIMUGE



I


The following discourse is attributed to the Chinese Zen master Ch'ing yuan Wei-hsin of the T'ang Dynasty and provides a window into the understanding of Zen:

Thirty years ago, before I began the study of Zen, I said, 'Mountains are mountains, waters are waters.' After I got insight into the truth of Zen through the instructions of a good master, I said, 'Mountains are not mountains, waters are not waters.' But now, having attained the abode of final rest, (that is, Enlightenment) I say, 'Mountains are really mountains, waters are really waters.'

He then asks, 'Are the three understandings the same or different?'

Over and over in Zen and Buddhism something like 'All is illusion' or 'The world is delusion' is presented. The problem with such understandings if presented as being true or otherwise representitive of reality, absolute or otherwise in the final sense, is that any and all persons presenting the statement and any and all persons recieving the statement would be themselves immersed products in that self-same illusion or delusion. Offering or making decisions on anything at all from that illusional or delusional position would be questionable, inturn totally undermining any credibility on such a statement, understanding, or belief.

Saying 'All is delusion' or 'The world is delusion' is by implication saying illusion/delusion IS, that is, that it exists, that it has it's own independent existence, existing independently without need. Dependent origination on the other hand, implies there can be absolutely nothing whatsoever that is real or eternal behind this actual world and beyond the interdependence of everything. Because of that interdependence all that exists is inherently empty. It can be argued on the conventional level there is causation that could or would back up illusion/delusion, but because causation has no inherent existence either, neither then could or would illusion/delusion. To perceive that causation DOES have inherent existence is what is called ignorance. Perceiving that LACK of causation in inherent existence is wisdom.

Almost everybody that reads a little about Zen starts thinking that NOTHING exists because everything is inherently empty, so what we perceive as reality must be delusion. But emptiness is the absence of independent existence. What that means is SOMETHING must exist and one of the qualifications of that existence is emptiness...the absence of independent existence is only possible because there is SOMETHING that exists...otherwise there would be no 'need' for the absence of independent existence, and if there was no absence of independent existence, then everything would not be empty. (source)

Which brings us back to Ch'ing yuan Wei-hsin and waters being waters and not being waters, then waters being waters again.


II



SEE:

ALL IS ILLUSION?
A Chinese-Indian Dichotomy In Advaita and Zen




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ALL THINGS ZEN: Page Two



III




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For Enlightenment on the Razor's Edge





Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience and then proceed to make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.

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TE SHAN

Te Shan burnt all his commentaries and books on Zen within hours of his awakening to the truth. Why? Zen master Mu-nan gave Shoju his sacred book on Zen that had been passed down through seven generations of masters. Shoju threw it into burning coals. Why?



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