Monday, February 27, 2012
Shobogenzo Ch20 (III) - Kokyo - The Clear Mirror
I've noticed that both sutras and zen writings contain a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole. The exaggeration and hyperbole sometimes hint at the possibility of something like 'super powers' that can result from enlightenment.
Here’s an example from Yuanwu, who I’ve been reading recently:
When the great Zen masters went into action, they were like dragons galloping and tigers charging: heaven and earth turned, and nothing could stop their revivifying people.
They penetrated directly through and made themselves completely unobstructed twenty-four hours a day, with their realization pervading in all directions, rolling up and rolling out, capturing and releasing.
I think Yuanwu is describing the actions of past Zen masters that had realized the clear mirror.
I can't say I've ever had much faith in the notion of ‘super powers’. But let's face it, we all at some time or another hope for a miracle solution that will rescue or redeem us from the obvious unfairness, indifference and banality that we witness and experience in life.
In each case, we typically exert ourselves to assert self in opposition to what is. But by opposing reality we increase separation and increase the strength of the walls that separate us.
The irony in most of these efforts is that, beyond the basic needs for survival, each desire boils down to the same one: Not to be separate. But the habits engrained in us by society are the opposite of what’s necessary to produce the desired effect.
To realize the clear mirror is to accept the entirety of the universe as self. All of it. Even the things that make us uncomfortable, things that cause suffering, pain, sickness and death. We accept the discomfort, pain, the unjustness, our own 'guilt' and ineffectiveness. The daily struggles and boredom.
A lot of what we learn as a function of sitting brings us closer to realizing the clear mirror. During zazen:
- We learn that mind percieves and processes experience. We learn that mind functions not only to generate thoughts and emotions but also is the source of awareness that is our experience of emptiness and all things.
- We learn to watch our own minds and discover that mind contains the seeds for everything that is expressed in the universe.
- We realize that everything in existence is from the same universal source.
- We learn to accept the things we can't change with equanimity.
When we accept the entirety of the universe as self, the result is not ‘self’ in the typical sense, no-self or non-self. Self expands to include everything and everyone.
What realization of the clear mirror results in is nothing that can be defined as personal success according the standards set forth by society. But I think it can result in a sort of 'super power', namely action motivated by an intuitive wisdom and compassion that is as untainted by views as I think a human being can get.