Sunday, January 20, 2008

Three in the morning

Now I am going to blog something here. I don't know whether it fits into the category of other people's blogs or not. But whether it fits in their category or whether it doesn't, it obviously fits into some category. So in that respect it is no different from their blogs. However, let me try writing my blog.


Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy. Great words are clear and limpid; little words are shrill and quarrelsome. In sleep, men's spirits go visiting; in waking hours, their bodies hustle. With everything they meet they become entangled. Day after day they use their minds in strife, sometimes grandiose, sometimes sly, sometimes petty. Their little fears are mean and trembly; their great fears are stunned and overwhelming. They bound off like an arrow or a crossbow pellet, certain that they are the arbiters of right and wrong. They cling to their position as though they had sworn before the gods, sure that they are holding on to victory. They fade like fall and winter - such is the way they dwindle day by day. They drown in what they do - you cannot make them turn back. They grow dark, as though sealed with seals - such are the excesses of their old age. And when their minds draw near to death, nothing can restore them to the light.


We all suffer from monkey mind to some degree or other. Caught up in rightness and wrongness, "fixing" wrong and "doing" right. I used to have a friend that like to remind me that we are human beings not human doings.


The hundred joints, the nine openings, the six organs, all come together and exist here [as my body]. But which part should I feel closest to? I should delight in all parts, you say? But there must be one I ought to favor more. If not, are they all of them mere servants? But if they are all servants, then how can they keep order among themselves? Or do they take turns being lord and servant? It would seem as though there must be sme True Lord among them. But whether I succeed in discovering his identity or not, it neither adds to nor detracts from his Truth.


The hundred thoughts, the nine discriminations, the six feelings... which should I feel closest to? Surely there must be one I ought to favor, one that ought to be lord and master of all? I need TRUTH to build my life around!


Words are not just wind. Words have something to say. But if what they have to say is not fixed, then do they really say something? Or do they say nothing? People suppose that words are different from the peeps of baby birds, but is there any difference, or isn't there? What does the Way rely upon, that we have true and false? What do words rely upon, that we have right and wrong? How can the Way go away and not exist? How can words exist and not be acceptable? When the Way relies on little accomplishments and words rely on vain show, then we have the rights and wrongs of the Confucians and Mo-ists. What one calls right the other calls wrong; what one calls wrong the other calls right. But if we want to right their wrongs and wrong their rights, then the best thing to use is clarity.


Words do indeed have something to say. But what they have to say is not fixed. It is all in relation to other words, to the moment, to filter of pre-conditioned thinking they are absorbed through. The words that are said are not the true words. The words that are heard are not the words that were spoken. When we understand each other we really understand our own understanding of each other.


What is acceptable we call acceptable; what is unacceptable we call unacceptable. A road is made by people walking on it; things are so because they are called so. What makes them so? Making them so makes them so. What makes them not so? Making them not so makes them not so. Things all must have that which is so; things all must have that which is acceptable. There is nothing that is not so, nothing that is not acceptable.


A road is made by people walking on it. A thing is so by being so not by being said to be so. Reality is... whether we acept it as being so or not. At the same time we can change our reality utterly and completely simply by changing our mind.


But to wear out your brain trying to make things into one without realizing that they are all the same - this is called 'three in the morning.' What do I mean by "three in the morning?" When the monkey trainer was handing out acorns, he said, "You get three in the morning and four at night." This made all the monkeys furious. "Well, then," he said, "you get four in the morning and three at night." The monkeys were all delighted. There was no change in the reality behind the words, and yet the monkeys responded with joy and anger. Let them, if they want to. So the sage harmonizes with both right and wrong and rests in Heaven the Equalizer. This is called walking two roads.


Harmony is when we fit ourselves to our reality rather than trying to fit reality to ourselves.


Now I am going to make a statement here. I don't know whether it fits into the category of other people's statements or not. But whether it fits in their category or whether it doesn't, it obviously fits into some category. So in that respect it is no different from their statements. However, let me try making my statement.

There is a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is being. There is nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. Suddenly there is nonbeing. But I do not know, when it comes to nonbeing, which is really being and which is nonbeing. Now I have just said something. But I don't know whether what I have said has really said something or whether it hasn't said something.


Who needs mind-altering substances when you can spend your time pondering this?


"The Way has never known boundaries; speech has no constancy. But because of [the recognition of a] "this," there came to be boundaries. Let me tell you what the boundaries are. There is left, there is right, there are theories, there are debates, there are divisions, there are discriminations, there are emulations, and there are contentions.... So [I say,] those who divide fail to divide; those who discriminate fail to discriminate. What does this mean, you ask? The sage embraces things. Ordinary men discriminate among them and parade their discriminatons before others. So I say, those who discriminate fail to see.

The Great Way is not named; Great Discriminations are not spoken; Great Benevolence is not benevolent; Great Modesty is not humble; Great Daring does not attack. If the Way is made clear, it is not the Way. If discriminations are put into words, they do not suffice. If benevolence has a constant object, it cannot be universal. If modesty is fastidious, it cannot be trusted. If daring attacks, it cannot be complete....

Therefore understanding that rests in what it does not understand is finest. Who can understand discriminations that are not spoken, the Way that is not a way? If he can understand this, he may be called the Reservoir of Heaven. Pour into it and it is never full, dip from it and it never runs dry, and yet it does not know where the supply comes from...."


To know that enough is enough is enough to know. To know that we don't know is enough to know.


"But waiting for one shifting voice [to pass judgement on] another is the same as waiting for none of them. Harmonize them all with the Heavenly Equality, leave them to their endless changes, and so live out your years. What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!"



Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou. But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Between Chuang Chou and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.



- selections from Chapter 2 of Burton Watson's translation of The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu

Now... I have just blogged something. But I don't know whether what I have blogged has really said something or whether it hasn't said something.

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