Tuesday, December 13, 2011

No Rhyme and No Reason

Traditionally, I use this space to sort through my own thinking. Since my exploration gravitates toward the practices of Zen and Aikido, it's natural that my writing reflects any insights--however minor--I find there in the overlap. Going back through the posts, two things are fairly clear:

  • I want to find the unity of these two studies, using Zen to deepen Aikido practice, using Aikido to deepen Zen practice, going deeper and deeper; and,
  • I want to show how those insights might be useful--whether inside or outside of either study--to Everyday Life.
There really is no rhyme or reason for the activity except perhaps to understand myself through my own "karma"--through my own habits, likes, dislikes, and the unique circumstances of this life (including language and diction). Consider that one culmination of the activity itself is the words that I have placed on the screen for me to read, using my karma--my living in this particular time and place where blogging is possible--to show me my own mind in reflection.

It is a curious cycle, no? Two activities which are outwardly very different sit in juxtaposition, one very physical requiring some mental dexterity and one almost entirely mental but occasionally taxing the body: Could they possibly be the same? As long as there is doubt, there is room to explore, finding deeper and deeper insights, continuously generating new blog posts and experiments for the dojo...

We will get this mind and body unified eventually... one way or another.

* * *

It is said that there was once a (mostly) congenial debate between two schools of Zen: a doctrinal school, focusing upon study of the scriptures, and the other patriarchal, focusing on the study of the koans. The debate went on and on, each side questioning and answering from within its own frame of reference, maybe saying the same thing, maybe saying something different, maybe being understood, maybe not--who knows? But I imagine they had to stop for lunch or a bathroom break eventually...

Anyway, once a student came to Master Pa-Lung and asked: 
Are the patriarchal teachings and doctrinal teachings the same or different?
Master Pa-Lung replied:
When a chicken is cold, it climbs up into the tree; when a duck is cold, it goes under the water.
It may seem as if the Master answered the question almost reasonably, but I am not so sure he answered the question we believe he was asked. We followed the Master's trail to the fork in the road, but now there are no footprints in any direction!

So, where do you go from here?

Post a Comment