Maybe a “mistake” is a characteristic of separation, while perfection is a characteristic of oneness – yet ”mistake” and “perfection” describe one and the same world. Case 2 in the Mumonkan, “Hyakujo and the Fox,” examines this contrast at different levels: of commonsense distinction, of undeniable wholeness, of intimacy bare of such explanations.
If this very moment encompasses all past and future – if the sound of a bell is everything – how could there be such items as cause and effect? Yet we seem to perceive them clearly. Hyakujo is inviting us to experience the mysterious-yet-plain stuff of cause and effect/oneness: to experience directly how the stick is none other than falling, falling none other than the stick. To experience what it is when – even though we clearly perceive that hand and stick are not two – still the stick falls from the unclasped hand.
A lively Q & A follows concerning the nature of a “mistake,” the status of free will in a world with no separate parts, cause and effect on the path to awakening, and more.