Monday, August 4, 2014

Surrendering from contrived actions.



The wisdom of the Four Nobel Truths is present in understanding the causal relationship between attachment and suffering. All suffering arises from clinging and resistance. Bodhidharma spoke of this relationship in his Discourse on the Twofold Entrance to the Tao. He understood the Tao to be the animating essence of life and death. The Tao was Bodhidharma’s code for the primordial mind that lacks discrimination and opposition. Here is what he said:

“Everyone who has a body is an heir to suffering and a stranger to peace. Having comprehended this point, the wise are detached from all things of the phenomenal world, with their minds free of desires and craving. As the Scripture has it, ‘All sufferings spring from attachment; true joy arises from detachment.’ To know clearly the bliss of detachment is to walk on the path of the Tao. This is ‘the rule of non-attachment.’”

To be non-attached is to experience release—yielding heaviness and receiving lightness, like removing an obstruction from flowing water. Once removed, the water flows naturally and nourishes all things.

A key principle in realizing our oneness with the Tao is wu-wei, or “non-doing.” Wu-wei refers to behavior that arises from a sense of integration with our source, others and with our environment. Wu-wei is not motivated by a sense of separateness, or egotistical motives. It is action that is spontaneous, effortless and naturally reflects our connectedness. It is the experience of going with the grain or swimming with the current. The contemporary expression, going with the flow, is an excellent expression of this fundamental principle, which in its most basic form refers to behavior occurring in response to the flow of integrated life. Thus to engage wu-wei means to surrender or give oneself over to the ubiquitous, flow of a mind at peace: the birthplace of The Buddha. 

But importantly, it refers to an experience of getting out of the way and surrendering to the movement of something beyond our comprehension. Our body moves but it seems to function without an us moving it. In the Platform Sutra, Dajian Huineng (the sixth and last patriarch of Chan) reported on a conversation between two monks regarding the movement of a flag. One said the wind moved the flag. The other said no, it was the flag moving independent of the wind. Huineng said, youre both wrong. It was the mind/Tao that moved. When the primordial mind moves We remain silent and unmoving.

Lao Tsu expressed this yielding as giving up and getting. He expressed wu-wei this way in stanza nineteen of the Tao Te Ching:

Give up sainthood, renounce wisdom,
And it will be a hundred times better for everyone.
Give up kindness, renounce morality,
And men will rediscover filial piety and love.
Give up ingenuity, renounce profit,
And bandits and thieves will disappear.
These three are outward forms alone; they are not sufficient in themselves.
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one’s true nature,
To cast off selfishness
And temper desire.
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