There is Nothing in the World and Everything All at Once
Nothing is separated as the jet rolls across the sky and the “I” is at once everything hearing its own roar. The sound comes but where is the ear that heard and what is heard?
The morning train runs along the track and appears then disappears. I cannot paint a word on nothing that comes and goes. Everything all at once comes and goes.
Thoughts that run after anything are frenzied and falter in attempt by the intellect to get it.
Night disappeared. Daylight comes. Night comes. Daylight disappears. Oh. It’s all the same. And different.
Newspapers rely on our ignorance. They keep telling us there is something in P’an Shan’s world of nothing; while Boethius proclaims, it is everything all at once. There is this in the midst of that.
I was lying on the floor making every effort to listen to the lesson and yet the ghosts came to shake things up. They came, as they often do, dressed as worry and disappointment….sometimes guilt and disgust. It makes them happy to fool me time and time again with this in that.
Have you ever wondered why there are martial arts; flower arranging, calligraphy, sumi e, flute music, tea ceremony when there is nothing in the world of form. What is this nothing P’an Shan speaks of in the 37th case of The Blue Cliff record and this time of everything in all of this?
Nothing can be captured. But there are pointers. But don’t fool around with anything using your intellect. It is a swamp. Thoughts are obstacles. Bite into this, it is enough to know there is nothing in the world of desire….of form….of formlessness and everything all at once.
The thoughts react and the intellect insists with a question: “How do I live?” NOT like that!
A painted rice cake cannot be eaten….clouds become a canopy and disappear….don’t add anything. Don’t try to clear it up with the intellect, it is nothing.
Someone asked what am I to do about the poor conversation I had with a friend two nights ago? The person is chasing a ghost….looking with the intellect….blind to the knowledge that there is nothing in the world of form, of the words created by the tongue.
I was once asked by a teacher, “Why did Dogen ask the same question over and over again?” She asked it several times.
“Don’t look back.” The angel warned Lot’s wife. She was escaping Sodom and Gomorrah; she was flying into the formless….but she thought she heard something drop, perhaps a snap of a twig, or maybe she heard a scream, or smelled smoke. She looked back swearing that there was something there. The angel knew the arrow shot cannot come back as the angel witnessed Lot’s wife turn into a pillar of salt. There was nothing in the world of desire.
I have a gel pen….which can be erased when I use it. But I have tried it out and erased what I wrote and it leaves a smudge mark. There is nothing in the world of form. I bunched up the paper and threw it away.
This woman was in pain. She wanted to end her suffering. So she thought and thought and thought. Filling her head with fear she didn’t know that there is nothing in the world of formlessness. She thought if she killed herself she’d be free. She chose to blind herself with the thought that she knew the indicators of formlessness. Truth is free of any indications. There is nothing in the world of formlessness and everything all at once.
When this is there
That will be there
When that is not there
This is not there.
When this & that are there
There are no problems.
(37th case Blue Cliff Record) P’an Shan
(Boethius) Totem simul
Author: FaShi Lao Yue
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