The Zennist

The reifiers

A person who reifies is called a reifier.  What does it mean to reify?  Quite simply, it means thing-making (saskāra).  In other words, just as we make a brick by using raw clay then forming it, so we’ve formed thoughts by thinking.  But we do much more. 

The existence/appearance that we have before us is a reification, the source of which is unborn (ajāta).  (We might think of the unborn as absolute or pure spirit.)  If we search for the source of appearance we will never be able to find it because we always reify it.  Yes, we are reifiers.  We never see the source in its raw state.

To rise to the level of a person like Siddhartha when he began his quest, it’s not about finding something better or doing something better than we did before.  It is by unexpectedly finding that which is beyond all expectations and appearances.  Even the path is not made by human hands for human feet.  Rather, it transcends every human endeavor.

It even goes beyond thinker and thought.  This, by the way, is what all koans are built upon called huatou 話頭.  It is prior to the thinker and thought it cannot be envisioned.  The more the adept thinks about the koan the more concealed it becomes and the greater the doubt becomes.  Koans are meant to send the intellectual mind into the abyss, i.e., into a state of great doubt.  At some point the reifier can no longer reify.  This is the path Siddhartha took.

The Zennist

Author of The Zennist blog since 2007.

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