When you are aware of Buddha, you are Buddha.
When you are aware of deluded thoughts, you remain an unenlightened person.
–Dayi Daoxin (大毉道信 ) China 580-651
‘Joshu asked Nansen, “What is the Way?”
“Ordinary mind is the Way,” Nansen replied.
“Shall I try to seek after it?” Joshu asked.
“If you try for it, you will become separated from it,” responded Nansen.
“How can I know the Way unless I try for it?” persisted Joshu.
Nansen said, “The way is not a matter of knowing or not knowing. Knowing is delusion; not knowing is confusion. When you have really reached the true Way beyond doubt, you will find it as vast and boundless as outer space. How can it be talked about on the level of right and wrong?”
With these words, Joshu came to a sudden realization.’
–Mumonkan (無門関) 19
This is where I’ve been living for the past 1.5y. I did not so much have a breakthrough here as finally gain sufficient mental bandwidth to discern an important pattern in what I had previously considered chaos: like a confused sea state, with swells arriving from all quarters. I feel like Henri Charrière —Papillon of book and film fame– who studied the crazed wave state off his island in the French penal colony in Guyana until he discerned its true rhythm and used that wisdom to escape its treacherous, rocky shores unscathed.
By being willing to sit still (meditation) and knowing how (zazen) I studied the chaos –the disquiet from which I still suffer– and learned its secret. I am in the act of using this wisdom to escape, e’en as we speak.
I was looking ahead instead of behind for satori: looking for satori to relieve me of the chaos. What I came to realize is in an upside-down world like ours –a world determined to prevent each of us from self-realization or true fulfillment– chaos originates in satori. The chaos I now see is small-potatoes, like the dozens of impotent little reflections of a wave as it passes under a bridge. They exist yes, but now I see what they are worth.
The thing I was looking ahead for actually happened when I was 8. I climbed out of my bedroom window onto the roof of the back porch with a pillow and blanket while the moon was full and high above and sat there watching it set over the broad river before me until it gained the horizon and reached out its glistening bright arm to touch me before departing.
Instead of presenting itself to me in some glorious imagined future as a balm for my wounds or a weapon to employ against those who caused those wounds the knowledge –the wisdom, the thing I thought I sought– taps me playfully on the shoulder from behind; has been following me most of my life just waiting for me to notice. Considering one’s karma often arrives in the form of a slap I’ll take a tap.
I made real progress on Generator Hill. Here are some pictures of the place as I knew it…as I lived in it.
“Morality without enlightenment is not yet morality. Enlightenment and morality are nondual in the Way. One does not exist without the other . The truth is not beyond good and evil as is commonly believed. It is, rather , a way of living one’s life with a definite moral commitment that is practiced, realized, and verified within the realm of good and evil itself, yet remains undefiled by them.”
“When my house burned down, I gained an unobstructed view of the moonlit sky.”
-Mizuta Masahide (1657–1723)
“I can only give them my first log, with birds, sea, daily sights and little everyday problems. My real log is written in the sea and sky; it can’t be photographed and given to others. It has gradually come to life out of all that has surrounded us for months: the sounds of water on the hull, the sounds of wind gliding on the sails, the silences full of secret things between my boat and me, like the times I spent as a child listening to the forest talk.”