Case 29 never ends, yet now comes ...
Case 30: Daizui's Kalpa Fire
The same question asked twice, each time seemingly contradictory responses ...
When all of space and time are someday destroyed, when all the universe or universes (if there are universes upon universes as some scientists theorize) finally vanish ...
... does that beyond small human thoughts of "creation" and "destruction", "appearing" or "vanishing" disappear or not, vanish or not?
First the teacher answers "destroyed, vanished", then the teacher answers "not destroyed, not vanished". Why?
For this "not destroyed, not vanished" ... is ... the very dance of creation and appearance, destruction and disappearance.
For this "not destroyed, not vanished" ... is ... free of creation and appearance, destruction and disappearance.
For this "destroyed and vanished" ... is ... precisely not destroyed, not vanished.
For this "destroying and vanishing" ... is ... always thoroughly destroying and vanishing.
Sit beyond and escaping all human judgments of birth and death, start and finish, temporary and permanent, separate and connected, this and that, near and far ...
Sit through-and-through, right in the raging fires of constant birth and death, starts and finishes, temporary and permanent, separate and connected, this and that, near and far ... where you cannot escape, no need to escape, no place to run.
Then (as the Preface sings) all relativities and dualities are extintinguished. Far off Choan (an ancient city in far off, long ago China) is both on the other side of the world and long ago, and beyond all near and far, now and then. Taizan (Tozan) once described Buddha as three poinds of flax cloth, the ordinary thing as Holy Buddha, but one can sit beyond and through and through their being different or the same, sacred or profane ... and then they are exactly, differently Sacred-Profane!
Is God the same as Buddha? As three pounds of flax? As Mount Sumeru? In ancient China? In your living room? In a Catholic Church or a Buddhist Temple? At the start of the universe or at the finish? Big or small? Permanent or Impermanent? One or Many? Black or Red? Yes? No? Beyond and through-and-through all Yes-No?
In Zen Practice, we learn to be completely free of dualities right in and as a world of dualities ... birth/death, sickness/health, young/old etc. etc. Having practiced Zen for awhile, are you getting the hang of that?
Note: I feel that Shishin Wick's commentary this week does a good job on describing how everything is impermanent beyond permanence, but I feel he could have done a little better job describing how to drop both "permanence" and "impermanence" permanently. For those without a book, the Koan and commentary can be read here ...