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Thread: BOOK OF EQUANIMITY - Case 11

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    Case 10 never ends, yet now comes ...

    CASE 11 - Ummon's Two Sicknesses

    I would actually say there are three or four sicknesses, perhaps endless sicknesses upon sicknesses.

    At first (this is Basic Buddhism 101), you are a sickly deluded being like most on this planet, a prisoner of the sense of separate "self" with your "me/mine/my" ignorance, feelings of lack and need, hate and jealousy, and all the rest of the junk in your dusty, overstuffed, cluttered mental trunk.

    Then in the next sickness, you may gain some sense of "Emptiness" whereby all the junk is liberated and dropped away ... but you don't go far enough. You fail to realize how thorough and through-&-through must be the Spring Cleaning and Sweeping Out of "you" until there is no separate "you" and "your junk" left. What's more, even if you make a fairly good cleaning, you still see something ... Buddha (with a big "B", the Dharmakhaya in Buddhist Lingo) ... as a thing apart from you, as another piece of sacred junk hovering about. The cleaning is not anywhere near complete enough if "you" still think there is a big boundless 'Buddha-Trunk' that is standing somewhere out there at a distance, itself another bit of junk in front of "your" eyes.

    But then another sickness ... when some folks (lots found on the Buddhist internet), encountering some dropping away and Oneness, get all caught up in the clean and empty trunk (or, as we have sometimes described elsewhere, the white canvas without the painting, a boundless ocean without the fish, the vast blue sky without the clouds and birds and airplanes). They do not realize ... or do not know how to probe to the depths the fact that ... a trunk needs "stuff" to fill it, the canvas needs a painting, the ocean its fish to bring it to life etc. ... and that all are still Whole, not Separate. To the deluded eye, a trunk is filled with messy separate stuff ... but to a Buddha's eye, a trunk and its pile of all kinds of separate stuff are not separate, and neither are we! The ocean is not separate from the swimming fish, nor the clouds from the planes and birds and clouds, and neither are we! All are Whole, Interpenetrating. True Emptyness and Stillness is both empty of things and full, is both moving and still.

    Thus the ending verse says ...

    Allow the multitudes of myriad shapes (stuff) to be as is –
    Boundlesss, thorough liberation still obstructs the eye (if you are stuck there, or make liberation just another object of distant junk you desire).

    And Ummon hints at one more sickness ... that we need to stay on our toes, not be negligent in Practice or over confident. The reason to "stay on our toes" is that we fall into and out of one or the other sicknesses again ... back and forth ... the Buddha's Whole TrunkJunk, turned back to just being a pile of twisted trash jammed in an old crate. Thus, says the Preface to this Koan, even the bodyless, mouthless man who is never truly sick and never ultimately hungry better take his medicine and eat healthy ... because the disease is chronic and never ends, requiring daily treatment!

    Do I get this across a bit?

    Master Dogen wrote in Genjo Koan ...

    Those who have great realization of delusion are buddhas; those who are greatly deluded about realization are sentient beings. Further, there are those who continue realizing beyond realization, who are in delusion throughout delusion. ...

    When dharma does not fill your whole body and mind, you think it is already sufficient. When dharma fills your body and mind, you understand that something is missing.

    If you think there is a stopping place, you have not yet found the true nature of Rest. True Realization is in this living world of delusion. Yet folks have all kinds of extreme and crazy ideas about "realization" and enlightenment which they think must be sought apart from this world. If you think it is about some cheap feeling of "oneness" and "perfection", you don't really get it and it probably won't last. True Oneness is One even with things seeming to be complete or seeming to be missing, perfect or imperfect ... all of which together is Perfectly Completely Nothing Missing! Nothing ever missing from the Trunk, even when you cannot find the shiny treasure in the chest you are looking for.

    Master Jingqing Daofu said to a student (Blue Cliff Record 46) "The multitude of living beings are topsy-turvey, deluded by self and chasing after things."
    The student said, "Teacher, how about you?"
    Jingqing said, "I am almost not confused by self. "
           The student asked his meaning.
    Jingqing replied, "It is rather easy to be released of the self and outside things, but expressing this in living life is very hard."

    Dropping body and mind, self and other, is a simple child's trick. But then, living as a grown up in this body, in this world of self and other, is still pretty tricky!


    In your practice, where do you feel you are in suffering and treating these various diseases?
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-05-2012 at 11:27 PM.

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