In a way, our whole life as we’ve known it has been one great distraction…
Click here if you missed part 1 of Setcho’s Verse to Case 2 of the Blue Cliff Record.
Thus Setcho’s verse continues:
Where the skull’s consciousness comes to an end, how could joy arise?
The withered tree is giving a dragon’s roar.
Though dead, it is not dried up.
In other words: all vanishes, all. And yet, the most baffling thing, from the abyss of nothing, a mysterious joy wells up. It just does. “In nothingness there is a way,” as Tozan said. Is this the joy of creation? Is this the joy of which the Soviet rocket scientist Tsolkovsky spoke when he said: “the universe is created so that atoms can experience joy”?
Out of this nothing love pours, in the abundance of things. A love that doesn’t know itself as love. It just abounds and creates. Though the tree is dead, it is far from dried up. Though withered it gives a universal roar. When we really let go, when the bottom drops out, this is what we find – a universal joy that joins us with all things. A dying that gives us our true life.
As Joshu put it: “Freely you take away, freely you give; freely you kill, freely you give life.”
In fact we are all part of that life already. We have just been distracted, that’s all. And of course we may be distracted again. But after this, it becomes really possible to consider that this joy is actually infinite. Ever welling up, limitlessly giving itself. Of course we’ll get distracted from it at times. But now it’s clear for us practitioners that all we’re doing here in the zendo is ending our distraction, our distractedness. That’s all. Trying to get undistracted.
In a way, our whole life as we’ve known it has been one great distraction, which now we can interrupt, and even have a chance to end it once and for all.
And then Prajna Paramita is so clear, once we’ve dropped all distraction – it couldn’t be clearer.