Dark Luminosity


Student: Roshi, sometimes when I read your words, I experience something indefinable, an odd state, or even a pervasive yet indescribable taste, something like the experience having a word or a name "on the tip of the tongue," almost fully formed and strangely definite but still not quite yet "there." Maybe this is a word or a name that can't be spoken, and because of that, it has the character of fullness and depth and mysteriousness that actually causes my hair to stand up. That's the odd, complex sensation I get from your words, too, that the words you speak in reference to Zen are just elements of an unspoken word, a nameless name, so dark and deep it can't possibly ever be articulated, yet in no way is it "nothingness" or "non-existence" or even "Emptiness." So when I read your blog I am suddenly thrown into a confusion that is delightful. It isn't enlightenment itself, though it feels fresh and enlightening like dark sky slowly filling up with pellucid light that still remains unseen, but only intuited, or the rarefied sunlight that filters down to the bottom of a fast flowing stream and re-appears, dim but strangely brilliant, on the brown pebbles under the flitting shadows of trout and swimming frogs. It's an experience beyond all ideas and defined concepts or thoughts. Yet it is strangely open, still, numinous, stirring, and clear. Anything and everything can happen in it, yet there it is, unmoved and immovable. I wonder if this is what Shunryu Suzuki meant by "Beginner's Mind." I wonder if it isn't also what Takuan Soho called "the Immovable Mind" of the sages. Or what Seung-Sahn called "Don't Know Mind." Or maybe these more recent Zen ideas are just distant echoes of what the great Zen people of the past like Ma-Tsu and Layman Pang and Huang-Po knew in their everyday lives, once their everyday lives had merged with their deepest meditation.

Roshi: Maybe all this is just an echo of the Dark Luminosity spoken of by the Taoist sages. Special boxes have been designed for experiments in physics, into which light is shone, but although the boxes are filled with blazing light, since there is nothing in the box to reflect or obstruct the light when human beings look into these boxes they see only the deepest and blackest darkness. I know the state you describe very well, and I find it to be one of brimming-up and overflowing delight and elegance, though when I first became aware of it, to be quite honest with you, I was totally terrified. Why not just be open to the Nameless, play in it, relax into it, rest your mind from thinking, do not try to find any spurious answers or still less to turn it into a spiritual technique, but let it constantly refresh and invigorate you from its great dark depths?

No comments:

Post a Comment