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Merging of Difference & Unity – Part One

The Path of Teaching

Interval. Part One.

Merging. Difference & Unity.

石頭希遷 Shitou Xiqian (700–790)

參同契 Cantongqi

Come along with this power of Merging. Merging of what you ask? Merging Difference & Unity in a world that is constantly dividing and changing.

In this series of Teaching intervals we will look at and study a few lines at a time on what this power of merging difference & unity means.

Let’s jump in.

The Merging of Difference & Unity is the title of this ancient text from China, written by Shitou Xiqian, an eighth century Chan master.

  1. Do you want to see and know the merging of difference & unity in your everyday life?
  2. What does it mean for your spiritual practice?

Both questions require a response within your self. Let me reitierate.

  • Do you want to know the many and the one?
    • What do you want?
  • How does knowing the many and the one affect your spiritual reality?
    • What do you know right there wherever you are?


CAUTION: Look out for the aspect of yourself that thinks it is better than or less than anyone else. See if you can let go of comparisons. Beware of measuring yourself with some worldly yardstick. If you find yourself there, see if you can put the yardstick away.

I will begin with lines from the ancient text.

The mind of the great sage of India is intimately communicated between East and West.

The mind in this case is an awakend mind of an ancient sage. We are told the awakened mind is intimately communicated from East to West. There are no culture borders measuring difference or overvaluing unity. It is a merging of difference & unity.

As another example, from the New Testament.

“Let this mind be in you that was in Christ.”

There again, we are asked to intimately join our mind with a spiritual source.

Both teachings take us to ONE or Unity. This does not refer to the material impermanent phenomenal world, but the noumenon, the subtle existence of true reality.

“Merging of Difference & Unity.” “I and the Father are ONE!”

Are you able to merge difference & unity in this tumultous time of change in such a way that you experience yourself as ONE with the mind of the great sages? This is a rock-bottom foundational teaching.

It refers to the question, “Who am I? or stronger yet, “What am I?”

The simple answer is “Not Separate.” Yet. we feel separate and live according to that separateness.

The spiritual route is a route of merging difference & unityLet’s go two steps further in this piece.

Let’s start with our faculties – our inherent mental powers and include the spiritual response to being keen or dull.

People’s faculties may be keen or dull…in the path there are “no” Southern” or “Northern” ancestors.

Maybe you think you do not measure up? Think again, please.

Measuring and comparing ceases in the path of awakening. Whether you are keen or dull there is no yardstick. No measures. No comparisons.

All is ONE.

…in the path there are “no” southern or “northern” ancestors.

To put these first few lines together as this – it does not matter spiritually whether you are brilliant or dull since IT is you, you are not IT.

  • Right now…you may not know IT to be you.

The mind of the great sage of India is intimately communicated from east to west.

People’s faculties may be keen or dull but in the path there are no “southern” or “northern” ancestors.

I humbly say to those who study the mystery of existence, don’t waste time. Shitou Xiqian –

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