Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stretched Between

The Truth of Nonduality

Money coming or going, harmony, wisdom, and health can all turn upon a single thought. With a single thought, poverty can be overcome; with a single thought, disease can be cured; with a single thought, you can embrace and help others. Because mind is infinite, it can embrace the universe and still have room left over. Thus, if you understand the truth of nonduality, you can completely embrace everything. If you raise one thought that is calm, noble, and humble, and do so without any trace of like or dislike, or of "I," then that thought begins to manifest in the world and becomes medicine for all suffering. All energy will follow and work together with this kind of thought.

Daehaeng Kun Sunim, "Thinking Big" tricycle (Winter 2008)

Life's Not Black and White

Buddhism encourages us to be wary of antithetical concepts, not only good and evil, but success and failure, rich and poor, even the duality between enlightenment and delusion. We distinguish between the opposing terms because we want one rather than the other, yet the meaning of each depends upon the other. That may sound abstract, but such dualities are actually quite troublesome for us. If, for example, it is important to live a pure life (however I understand purity), then I need to be preoccupied with avoiding impurity. If wealth is important for me, then I am also worried about avoiding poverty. We cannot take one lens without the other, and such pairs of spectacles filter our experience of the world.

David Loy, "The Nonduality of Good and Evil"" tricycle (Spring 2002)

Here are two passages that illustrate the excellence that I find in Buddhist thought. In the first passage startling statements are made at the end…
“If you raise one thought that is calm, noble, and humble, and do so without any trace of like or dislike, or of "I," then that thought begins to manifest in the world and becomes medicine for all suffering. All energy will follow and work together with this kind of thought.”

That is impressive. Can it really be true? Here is Buddhist magic. The whole point of the discipline from one point of view is to arrive in the world a genuine Bodhisattva, and this kind of thinking is what Bodhisattva does. Of course this kind of thinking does not come easily. I would call it from one perspective, “thinking in the gap”.

The second passage is an illustration of fundamental Buddhist psychology. What impresses me about that is not so much that it is true but that it was known first by Hindus (well, okay, also the Chinese Taoists) several thousand years ago and was clarified in this form by Buddhists in the last 600years BCE. This is old. We have known spiritual keys to our mental process for a very long time.

If you want to break free then this is the sort of stuff you have to reconcile. It really doesn’t matter what your faith is. This is the stuff that blocks the flow of the divine in the human frame.

This is the stuff that paves over the crack between the worlds. The worlds of which I write are the primary two, God’s World, and the world that God permits. Jesus called God’s World the Kingdom. The world God permits is the world that Job (read the book of Job) and we inhabit, where justice fails, love is impermanent and peace is elusive. It holds true however you decide to define divinity. Buddhism is humanist, perhaps, while Taoism and Hinduism tend to theist in diverse ways. The western religions focus in a different way in the mainstream, but in the mystical branches of the western religions, the exact same psychological issues arise. They are spoken of in Christian mysticism, in Sufism, and as well in the Kabbalah. The crack (or gap) of which I write is the way out, or the way in. It is the path the power flows through.

The Hindus say, “Neti, neti.” Not this, not that.

Stretched Between

Yesterday, I hit
the spot, the sweet spot, home base.
I knew I knew, yes!
Fully awake, grateful, graced,
and then with all that, to bed.

The dreams went all ways.
I awoke wondering where my
grace had gone. Not here.
But I am not asleep...not
really awake any more,
but not asleep, no,
stretched between, not this not that.

This might hurt a bit.

May 5, 2009 12:37 PM


  1. OHhhh, that last line, it is play and a squirt of reality on the tongue. Ha! This might hurt a bit.

    To stretch is like that when I still in a moment, not that I am able to go as far as I believe I could, but it is stretching the peripheral vision and letting the robes of now fall loose at the shoulders. Or something like that. For me.

    I find it extremely interesting about the duality of nature. We spend such a great deal of time trying to cure certain situations, cure poverty, war, sickness. I have wondered if we aren't actually living a divine realm now, all of balance existing right here on earth. Perhaps we fight one side of duality too often, and instead should embrace it all, one way or another. (Or maybe it is too easy for my safe at home well fed north american ass to say such things...)


  2. I understand what you say Erin, and wonder if this is the right venue for such a discussion. You might have noticed that you are the only one to comment. You are not the only person who came by today. I know this from the counters.

    The difference between the divine realm and the mundane is real but also the realms are intimate and fit together in a way like you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. Even the language isn't right. To make too much of the distinctions is not only possible, but focus on the distinctions leads to some of the stranger twists in the religions not of God but that God permits.

    The imbalance that supports permission is built in to the heart of the cosmos as near as I can see, and is necessary for its existence. When I say the next thing, please understand that I mean it in a special way. The difference between the divine world and the mundane world is mainly attitude. That attitude cannot be maintained without the ebb and flow of the dynamic that is in the gap between worlds. The only question being then, do I master myself and some craft to access the power or do I beseech and receive it through some kind of faith and belief. Either way gives one the power to shift into the divine and either way can fail.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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