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Thread: Desire is the Path, and so are anger and folly. Contemplating Evil

  1. #1

    Desire is the Path, and so are anger and folly. Contemplating Evil

    Hi everyone ,

    Reading the Classics of Buddhism and Zen translated by Thomas Cleary many, many questions arise. Some answers probably will come in time , most of the answers maybe never will and here is one of those questions I think answering or if pointed in the right direction could help me along in practice.

    Because I realize you could not have all scriptures memorized, here is a segment of the Universal Stopping and Seeing Scriptures where the Buddha mentions the Scripture on Absence of Conformation. Here is what I’m reading:

    “Desire is the Path, and so are anger and folly. All Buddha’s teachings are in these three things. If people seek enlightenment apart from desire, they are as far apart from it as sky from earth. Desire is none other than enlightenment.”

    And in the Pure Name Scripture it is said: One realizes the path of the Buddha’s while traveling on the false paths. All beings are the appearance of enlightenment and cannot be further attained. All beings are the attainment of nirvana and cannot be further extinguished. For the conceited, detachment from lust, anger, and folly is called liberation. For those without conceit, it is said that the essence of lust, anger and folly is itself liberation.

    There is so much in this it boggles the mind. Now, I understand that seeing the veils/evils means we can see its counterparts too. No light without darkness. Cultivating this and gaining wisdom by seeing, I can grasp up to a point. In a minor question there is a passage following these however, I do not understand: “advancing into the realm of the bronze wheel ( partial realization), breaking the root of veils ( ignorance) and revealing the Buddha nature, is the stage of partial realization of reality.

    Bronze wheel? Can you shed some light on this?
    Partial realization of reality? You either realize or you don’t I, always thought?

    My main question, is about the being on the wrong path as the way to enlightenment and letting anger, lust, greed etc. be and let it all run free, because we need these to reach enlightenment. That I do not understand.

    I do see the subtle “while” in ‘One realizes the path of the Buddha’s while traveling on the false paths ’. But later it seems Buddha is encouraging the unrestrained manifestation of aspects of being human, we tend to dislike, fight against. So, we must not only accept these but also let them fully bloom? The vid. and thread about Uchiyama Roshi:Right now, right here, I live simply, points to the mistaken idea of practicing Zen as an attempt to forcefully change into something other than our real selves. Words to really chew on. But in opposite sense, letting anger, lust, desire etc. roam free to see the veils more clearly as an aspect of practice, is surely not what Buddha meant? Where and how do I miss the point?

    Following this, Is Buddha saying your or my true face maybe a not so pleasant one, in popular terms? Is it possible that, if I see my true face in realization, others won’t like what comes from it? Not the soft-spoken, gentle mannered saint but quite the opposite?

    I could use a few words on these points. If you tell me a toddler should not ask about tax deductions, of course I also accept that too

    Gassho and always in great appreciation,


  2. #2
    Hi Enkyo,

    Most Mahayana teachers will explain things like "Enlightenment is Delusion" or "the essence of lust, anger and ignorance is itself liberation" like this:

    It is a bit like saying that "Health" and "Doctors" need sickness to be what they are, that a sailor needs the sometimes peaceful and sometimes stormy sea to be a "sailor" who sails, that a flower garden arises from the dirt and stinky fertilizer. One is not possible without the other. No sickness, no storming seas, no soil ... no doctors healing, sailors sailing or flowers growing.

    That does not mean, however, that one tries to get sick, neglects the boat until one drowns, lets the weeds take over the garden! Far from it! We sail carefully, watch our health, tend the garden as best we can in this world.

    We also say "Nirvana is Samsara" in the same vein. So long as we are living in this complex Samsara life there is (as I quoted Koun Franz today) "the stench and the perfume of the world". Our Practice is how to live in this world of sometimes perfume and sometimes stink, sometimes sickness and sometimes health, sometimes smooth sailing and sometimes storm ... doing as we can to nourish health and peace, wisdom and compassion.

    Sea-sailor-ship-sun-storm are one great sailing dance ... and so it is with delusion and enlightenment.

    And there is one more aspect ... the Buddha Transcendant and Immanent right in this world aspect:

    For True Enlightenment steps beyond and right through all these dichotomies ... of sickness and health, calm and disturbance, birth and death, beauty and ugliness ... even the dichotomy of "delusion vs. enlightenment"!

    That is like finding a certain HealthLifeBeautyPeaceEnlightenment that holds, and embraces and shines through all the small sickness and health, calm and disturbance, birth and death etc. etc. dichotomies seen and judged with small human eyes.

    Got how that works?

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-23-2013 at 10:25 AM.

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo, simply beautiful

    合掌 - gassho, Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way" URL=""][/URL]

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    Thank you Jundo, simply beautiful

    Yes, thank you Jundo.


  5. #5
    Dear Jundo,

    Yes, I think I see. Took my time to let it simmer in the old pressure pan first.

    How could we ever practice in a perfect world? How can someone sit, if he or she never stands up in the first place?
    How can a man that is running forever and will run forever, answer the question "Where are you? with "I'm right here"? Stopping and seeing, right?

    As I now understand this is the discerning of equality in darkness and light. Taking part in the relative daily ordinary life without losing sight of the reality of the absolute. Seeing both at the same time, standing in the world seeing in all directions at once. An antique chair is precious and beautiful. I want it! but also realizing the tree that grew out of the earth that came from..... ( nothing) was carefully shaped into this chair so it in fact has no origin and no destination in absolute terms. The 'no I' want this 'no chair' standing in the middle of nothing. Or: a nothing wants a nothing because of nothing for no reason. So I overpay for a chair because its just beautiful!

    Well, something like that anyway?



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