Tuesday, 20 June 2017


121. The heart-mind that Nansen describes as 'ordinary', the heart-mind that Eka could not take hold of, this is the heart-mind that we must touch, must awaken to, in our practice of zazen. Like Joshu we will find ourselves asking, 'Shall I try to seek after it?' Taking note of Nansen's response 'If you try for it, you will become separated from it', we might find ourselves suddenly confused and doubting. If trying for it only separates us from it, why are we devoting ourselves to such a demanding practice as zazen? With Joshu we will ask, 'How can I know the Way unless I try for it?' Nansen answers that it is 'not a matter of knowing or not knowing'. In other words, it is not a matter of conceptual knowledge, a knowledge that can be expressed in the language of logical discourse. He adds: 'When you have really reached the true Way beyond doubt, you will find it vast and boundless as outer space'. The True Way of Nansen's Ordinary Mind cannot be 'talked about on the level of right and wrong', cannot be discussed in a language that is underpinned by dualistic assumptions. Joshu, we are told, came to understand this with 'a sudden realization'.
     Encouraged by the claim that Joshu 'came to a sudden realization' while listening to Nansen's words, let us see if there is any way we can seek after the Way of  Nansen's Ordinary Mind without separating ourselves from it. Let us see if we can try without trying for it.

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