Stay Wavy

“If I addressed you in the manner of the ancient teachers of Zen, I should hit the microphone with my fan and leave. Because if I allow you to leave here this evening, under the impression that you understand something about Zen, you will have missed the point entirely. Because Zen is a way of life, a state of being, that is not possible to embrace in any concept whatsoever. So that any concepts, any ideas, any words that I shall put across to you this evening will have as their object, showing you the limitations of words and of thinking. Now then, if one must try to say something about what Zen is, and I want to do this by way of introduction, I must make it emphatic that Zen, in its essence, is not a doctrine. There’s nothing you’re supposed to believe in and it’s not a philosophy in our sense, that is to say a set of ideas, an intellectual net in which one tries to catch the fish of reality. Actually, the fish of reality is more like water, it always slips through the net. And in water you know when you get into it there’s nothing to hang on to. All this universe is like water; it is fluid, it is transient, it is changing. And when you’re thrown into the water after being accustomed to living on the dry land, you’re not used to the idea of swimming. You try to stand on the water, you try to catch hold of it, and as a result you drown. The only way to survive in the water is to learn how to swim. And to swim, you relax, you let go, you give yourself to the water, and you have to know how to breathe in the right way. And then you find that the water holds you up; indeed, in a certain way you become the water.”

“In this universe, there is one great energy, and we have no name for it. ‘Ten thousand functions, one suchness,’ and we’re all one suchness. And that means that suchness comes and goes like everything else because this whole world is an on-and-off system. As the Chinese say, it’s the yang and the yin, and therefore it consists of ‘now you see it, now you don’t, here you are, here you aren’t, here you are,’ because that is the nature of energy, to be like waves, and waves have crests and troughs. Only we, being under a kind of sleepiness or illusion, imagine that the trough is going to overcome the wave or the crest, the yin, or the dark principle, is going to overcome the yang, or the light principle, and that ‘off’ is going to finally triumph over ‘on.’ And we, shall I say, bug ourselves by indulging in that illusion. ‘Hey, supposing darkness did win out, wouldn’t that be terrible!’ And so we’re constantly trembling and thinking that it may, because after all, isn’t it odd that anything exists? It’s most peculiar, it requires effort, it requires energy, and it would have been so much easier for there to have been nothing at all. Therefore, we think, well, since the ‘is’ side of things is so much effort, you always give up after a while and you sink back into death. But death is just the other face of energy, and it’s the rest, the not being anything around, that produces something around, just in the same way that you can’t have ‘solid’ without ‘space,’ or ‘space’ without ‘solid.’ When you wake up to this, and realize that ‘the more it changes the more it’s the same thing’ as the French say, that YOU are really a playing of this one energy, and there is nothing else but that, that IT is YOU. But that for you to be always you would be an insufferable bore, and therefore it is arranged that you stop being you after a while and then come back as someone else altogether. And so when you find that out, you become full energy and delight.”

Be Energy. Stay Wavy.

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