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Message from Henry: Mu ichi motsu

Misery tends to be simplistic. Well being tends to be open to complexity, pluralism, uncertainty.

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People naturally interpret the term “emptiness” in the light of what they have experienced. Some say it means there are no boundaries; others that all things exist but without “self-existence”; relatively few go the whole hog and say: mu ichi motsu: “there is not one thing, there is nothing at all.” This variety is likely attributable to what people have seen or tasted themselves; or perhaps what they have read or studied.

Mu ichi motsu. The first great mystery is that for real, this whole business, human beings, the universe, stars, life-forms, is nothing at all.

But: Muju zo: “an inexhaustible treasure-house.” The second great mystery is that somehow, against all logic, this nothingness has the capacity to be anything at all, all things that are, and infinitely more besides.

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Misery tends to be simplistic. Well being tends to be open to complexity, pluralism, uncertainty.

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Pre-zen: it’s like a puppet that has refused to recognize that it’s a puppet.

Post-zen: hmmm….

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Zen training: it can be a bit like this: no sooner have we raced across the pitch in order to field one question than a new one is already hurtling in from a different angle, and we run off to field that one too. Then another, and another, all coming in every which way. It’s like life accelerated. And in such a way that life seemingly refuses to let us doze. We must keep paying attention.

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What if hidden in each of us there is a master of life, someone who knows how to live, who is not taken in by the apparent vicissitudes of life, whose basic orientation is founded on love – that this experience is illusory, not entirely what it seems, and brief, so while it’s happening the only way to proceed is out of kindness? And Zen is a system by which the master gets woken from the chamber where we locked them away and left them – we thought – slumbering, though in fact they were never asleep?

Well, I guess that’s a rhetorical question, and maybe not the best metaphor, rather elaborate… but anyway, something to consider…

 

Message from Henry taken from our August 23, 2016 Newsletter
Image: Windows, by Skeeze, CCo Public Domain, from Pixabay.com

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