Tuesday, August 9, 2011
The 100 foot pole.
I don't particularly care to give Dharma talks. I find that the truth one finds in silence to be truer than any words that can be spoken. I had often thought that it better for one to teach by example but for many our examples are misunderstood. But how do we explain truth in words? Truth is just some idea in our mind not something that we can grasp hold of. In this sense there is no truth.
But still we want to know what truth is. So we try to explain in words and by doing so there is no end to the discussion. Soon we may realize that there is nothing we can say that will explain truth. In essence all off our words fall short, they become vulgar and seem only to hide that which truly exists. So what can we say or do to explain truth? Nothing!
Master Sekiso said, "You are at the top of a 100 foot pole. How will you make a step further? This would seem an impossible feat, for if one would take a step forward one would surly die. Nor can we step back. This seems to be an impossible place with nowhere to return to and nowhere to go.
We many become comfortable on top of the 100 foot pole, thinking that we can see everything so much clearer, and that now we understand truth, we may even thank this is enlightenment. But it is not enlightenment. For what is there to understand? And what is there to see? As the impossibility of our situation returns we may start to contemplate life and after we use all the words we can find to verify life we find there is really nothing that explains it. Like truth the only answers for life are found in silence.
Standing on top of the 100 foot pole we will experience this silence. But the experience may go unnoticed or be short lived because of our leaning minds. So how can we know truth? We have to take one step forward. We have step into the silence, we have to fall from the pole. How can anyone take such a step? We may start to contemplate death, only to find, like truth and life, there are no words that can give death true meaning. We find only that truth, life and death are nothing in particular. Just the thusness of what is. With this realization stepping off the 100 foot pole becomes less of an impossibility and more of a necessity.
Mumon commented on the 100 foot pole. He said "Should there be any who is able to step forward from the top of the 100 foot pole and hurl one’s whole body into the entire universe, this person may call oneself a Buddha. Nevertheless, how can one step forward from the top of the 100 foot pole? Know thyself!
Should one be content and settle on top of the 100,000 foot pole, One will harm the third eye, And will even misread the marks on the scale. Should one throw oneself and be able to renounce one’s life, Like one blind person leading all other blind persons, One will be in absolute freedom (unattached from the eyes)".