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This One Moment


Bendowa continued— (emphases in bold are mine.)

The world of self-consciousness, and [the world] of consciousness of external objects, lack nothing—they are already furnished with the concrete form of real experience. The standard state of real experience, when activated, allows no idle moment. Zazen, even if it is only one human being sitting for one moment, thus enters into mystical co-operation with all dharmas, and completely penetrates all times; and it there performs, within the limitless Universe, the eternal work of the Buddha’s guiding influence in the past, future, and present.
For everyone it is completely the same practice and the same experience. The practice is not confined to the sitting itself; it strikes space and resonates, [like] ringing that continues before and after a bell. How could [the practice] be limited to this place? All concrete things possess original practice as their original features; It is beyond comprehension.
Remember, even if the countless buddhas in ten directions, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, tried with all their power and all their Buddha-wisdom to calculate or comprehend the merit of one person’s Zazen, they could not even get close.


So, I thought of a couple of things—

Me saying this to someone who asked me about life after death:
“Well, are you alive right now?”  (‘Yes’.)  “And has there ever been a moment that wasn’t’ ‘Now’?”  (‘No’.)  “Will there ever be a moment that isn’t ‘Now’?”  (‘No’.)  “So how could you possibly die?” (Silence— no answer.)

And the other day— noticing myself noticing.

How does that happen? The only way it can possibly happen is if everything I notice is, in this moment, the same thing as my action of noticing it. It’s not a hall of mirrors, or the proverbial unpeel-able onion.

The onion analogy would have me noticing that I am noticing that I am noticing, on and on forever. That’s what the detractors of Zen would say that Zen is— a solipsistic, nihilistic, OCD sort of metaphysics.
As for the hall of mirrors, it just goes on repeating forever, while trying to cover up the fact that it takes more than a minimum of two mirrors facing each other to achieve the effect; first, I would have to wriggle in between them in order to see the endless image of myself.

See? After the onion is peeled, the onion peeler is still there. After the hall of mirrors is built, it still needs an onlooker.

As far as the chicken or the egg conundrum goes, here is the problem— who cares? No, really— Who?

In this one moment, there are both chickens and eggs. In all of Eternity, there has never been a chicken or an egg that cared about the answer to the question of which came first.

In this one moment, there are onions remaining unpeeled, and onions cut up and simmering in a stew, and onions that remain entirely unaware that they have been used to construct a metaphor.

In this one moment, there are really excellent halls of mirrors in carnivals and state fairs which require admission to be paid before entering. Pony up if you want to go in.

This one practice—

this one not-idle moment—


rings forever 

like a bell 

in the space between 

‘before’ 

and 

‘after’.

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