A Solitary Sword Against a Cold Sky

Q: Roshi, is "pure consciousness" the true & objective reality that supposedly exists somewhere beyond time and space?

A: No! If you go into deep samadhi, you can enter into pure consciousness, which has the character of wondrous stillness & all-engulfing light & boundless space. However, on emerging from your samadhi, you realize there was (and is) no difference at all in it between "that" and "this" (or, to use philosophy language, noumenal and phenomenal). This is that, that is this. So it's just that in one case you were shutting out the stream of information coming in from the senses, & in the other you're letting it surge in. But the stream of information coming in from the senses is neither objective nor subjective. Nor is it any different in a substantial way from what is realized in deep samadhi. It's all the same space, the same light, the same wondrous stillness even in furious movement. The ancient Zen term for this realization is "Fighting alone in the midst of the fray, not a hair out of place." Also, "A solitary sword against a cold sky."

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