An idea has crept into American Zen, especially perhaps in some lines that formerly grew out of Sanbo Zen, that the point of training was to have a glimpse of the dimension of ku, or shunyata, or the “Dharmakaya,” or Dharma-body, then scurry back into “normal views.” After the ecstasy, the laundry.
But actually that’s not how it is taught in Japan. Rather, it’s not “after the ecstasy the laundry,” but something more like: “glory to glory…” More and more of the ox (from the Ten Ox-herding Pictures) becoming visible, until the ox and daily life are indistinguishable. That is the true liberation of Zen. It comes by going onward, further and further, until the distinction between laundry and ecstasy is obliterated.
As Layman Pang said, “My miracle? Chopping wood, drawing water.”
Still, there are many different levels at which this teaching applies. Because of the nature of the teaching, it couldn’t be otherwise. And one of them is: “after the ecstasy the laundry.”
Message from Henry is taken from our June 7, 2016 Newsletter.
Image: Laundry, by LaVladina, CC by 2.0, from Flickr.com