Welcoming Words to All,
This week's section seems very anti-words and ideas. Master Keizan spills a lot of words to make the point that none of that is Truth.
But what is his real point?
All of the statements he mentions and seems to criticize are basic "Buddhist & Zen Philosophy 101" ... and I do not think that Master Keizan is saying that any of those are "wrong" (no Zen teacher would say that any of those statements are wrong ... even if some of them are partial or only one side of truth, ... because they are each classic descriptions of the Zenny view of the world). Keizan's point was something more subtle ... not some crude view of Zen as "without words".
It is simply that the idea alone ... the words alone ... discussion and debating them alone ... is not their true Truth.
Keizan even criticizes the most well known classic example of silence as "Truth" ... the roaring silence of Vimalakirti ... to say that even that is not "Truth" ... not Truth enough about silence when we try to describe the silence as a story of words and images about the silence.
Take, for example, how I often speak of "dancing" to describe Emptiness ... and the experience of losing (and rediscovering) our separate self as dancers of the dance.
Well, my best descriptions ... although not wrong ... cannot capture the actual experience of dancing. The way to truly know this dance is to lose (and find) yourself in the actual dancing.Universes of dancers (including you and me) danced up in this dance ... each dancer seemingly standing apart on her own two feet ... yet each dancer simultaneously seen as just the dance-dancing-the-dance (for what would we think a 'dancer' without a dance to dance her and her to dance? There is no dancer apart from her dance.) There is nothing but the dance and the motion, the separation lost in a lively, enlivening, living blur .
A simpler example is sweet, vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day. No name, chemical formula, prosaic or poetic description can capture the Truth found on one's own tongue as you lose yourself in the sweetness and coolness.
Something like that.
Master Dogen, Keizan's Dharma Grandpa, was never as "anti-language" as many think (in their own mental ideas and images about "Zen") all Zen Masters need to be. It is common to say that words can never capture Truth even if a Zen teacher's well chosen words might serve as 'a finger pointing at the moon'. However, Dogen went farther by saying that the finger is not apart from moon if well formed, and words can be the moonlight. Certainly, Zen teachers thoughout history have spilled pages and pages of words and ideas trying to convey Zen Truths ... and they succeed if the moon can be heard through them.
For Dogen it is much like saying that the Truth of the garden is not found when we rip out all the flowers and weeds and reduce things to the bare soil. Far from it! Well chosen word-flowers are the expression and total actualization of the garden itself, the "Truth" of the garden realized in its life and flowering. Of course, it is vital that we perceive it as such ... and live so as to nurture the flowers and avoid the verbal and other weeds.
Something like that.
There ... more words spilled! 8)
This week Cook from 63, Hixon from 65