The Zennist

Caught in the trap of this consciousness

It seems paradoxical to say this but desire for conditioned things and desire for enlightenment (the unconditioned) are virtually the same.  How is this so?  Suffice it to say that according to Buddhism we operate in a world of duality that is subject-object consciousness or vijñāna.

The average seeker is really seeking, if you can picture this, with a butterfly net trying to catch air.  This seeker is having no success because the seeker’s imagination holds onto the belief that air is something the butterfly net can trap.

Buddhism will say that we cannot seek the unconditioned with subject-object consciousness.  Enlightenment is not an experience for the experiencer or knowledge for a knower.  We are still stuck in a dualizing  mode.  Still stuck in Samsara.  Without the transcendence of this dualizing consciousness we cannot hope for an escape.

A brief aside, most of us recall the the Ten Oxherding Pictures (十牛圖) that were first popularized in China during the Song Dynasty.  What is significant here is that one of the stages is a circle in which oxherder and the ox have both disappeared.  In other words, the Zennist has converged with the primordial one so that there is no duality left.  The other term for this convergence is samādhi.

Returning to the one (P., ekatta) is always possible but the chances are zero if we go by way of our dualistic consciousness or vijñāna.  At some point in our spiritual career we must confront this duality which is in Zen called the great doubt 大疑.

Of course, it almost goes without saying, but our passion/desire for life is our greatest obstacle.  Facing this, we modern people always try to meet the challenge by serving God and mammon at the same time (appearing outwardly moral but craving wealth and power on the inside). 

This dualistic consciousness is also diabolical.  It always betrays us.  Even our immature hope that death will clear our sins away betrays us.  Even when we think to our self, well, I will just let go of this dualistic consciousness.  We are caught in the trap of this consciousness.  Paradoxically, we cannot grab the object or fully let go of the subject.  A path of intuition is the only answer by which we transcends both subject and object suddenly.


Non-aligned Zen Teacher currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada USA Youtube Channel Website