A person who has mushin on no mind or no heart in Chinese, is a very high order of person. It means that his psychic center doesn’t get in its own way. It operates as if it wasn’t there. Chuang Tzu says that the highest form of man uses his shin like a mirror it grasps nothing it refuses nothing it receives but does not keep. And the poem says when the geese fly over the water and they are not reflected in the water, that the geese do not intend to cast the reflection and the water has no mind to retain their image.
So, the whole thing is you see to operate in the world as if you were absent. That this is fundamental dollars idea of. Being absent. As a condition of being present. Being not there. Chuang Tzu Says, ‘When your belt is comfortable you don’t feel it.’ When your shoes a comfortable it is as if you want wearing any. Likewise, your clothes you see the more you are aware of these things. The less properly they are made. Or the less probably they fit. But we raise an objection to this very simple objection. If I don’t know I’m there, I seem to be missing everything. We want to know that we know. If we’re happy and we don’t know we’re happy, we might just as well not be happy. To be happy and to know that you’re happy is really the overflowing of the cup of life. Of course, the penalty for that is to be miserable and to know that your miserable some people are miserable without knowing it. But, you know, my Limerick there was a young man said though, ‘It seems that I know that I know what I would like to see is the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know.’ And this is the great human predicament the development of self-consciousness, the development of the possibility of reflecting upon one’s own knowledge. And this is simultaneously a blessing and a curse.
So, when the human being developed the power to be aware of himself. To know that he knows. In other words, when the cortex was formed over the original brain. He fell from grace. That was the fall of man. Because, when he felt he had the sensation of being in charge of being in control of himself and you could only have that sensation when you are aware of what you’re doing, he got anxious. Am I aware enough of myself? Have I taken enough factors into consideration? Have I done all that should be done? And then he started trembling. This was the fall of man, of course, this is what is meant. Lao Tzu says, ‘When the great Tao is lost there came a duty to man and right conduct.’ In other words nobody talks about how you ought to behave. Unless things have gone radically wrong. There wouldn’t be any conception of faith for ministers of the of the state unless there are a lot of lousy politicians around. No one would talk about filial piety, unless there were wayward sons and daughters.
So there is constantly in the tradition of Taoism, the idea that all moral preaching is confusion. There’s a marvelous case of this in the Chuang Tzu’s book. Where there’s an alleged conversation between Confucius and Lao Tze, in which allowed SAS Confucius to explain to him what is charity and duty to one’s neighbor. And Confucius gives him a little sermon on being, giving up one’s self interest and working for others and Lao Tzu says, ‘What stuff.’ So regard the universe. He says, ‘The stars come out invariably every night. The sun rises and sets the birds flock and migrate. Without exception all flowers and trees grow up words without exception.’ You, by or talk of charity and duty to one’s neighbor you’re just introducing confusion into the empire you already attempt to eliminate self is a positive manifestation of selfishness. You are like a person beating a drum in search of a fugitive. The modern equivalent of that would be the police car. About to raid a bad night club and coming with that siren full on its name. And everybody in the club gets out. So, they all talk about selfishness. All talk about, success in becoming virtuous, or enlightened or integrated on non neurotic or self actualized that’s used all the terms that are being used, all this talk. Attests to the fact that it hasn’t happened. And will in fact get in the way of it’s happening. Well to go back to Lieh Tzu, who succeeded in riding the wind what happened? Lieh Tzu found a very great master, and went to study with him and the master lived in a small heart. And sat outside the heart. And the master paid absolutely no attention to him. This is sort of the way with Taoist masters, because why would they want students. They have nothing to teach. So, after a year sitting outside, Lieh Tzu went away. Then he just fed up with waiting so long. Then he sort of got regretful about this and thought he really should make a try. So we went back to the master who said why the ceaseless coming and going. So he sat there and tried to control his mind, in such a way that he would not think of the differences between gain and loss. In other words, try to live in such a way that nothing is either an advantage or a disadvantage.
Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer, whose horse ran away. And all the neighbors came around to commiserate that evening so sorry to hear your horse has run away that’s too bad and he said maybe. The next day the horse came back bringing seven wild horses with it and everybody came around in the evening and said ‘Oh isn’t that lucky. What a great turn of events you’ve now got eight horses’ and he said ‘Maybe.’ The next day, his son tried to break one of these horses and ride it and was thrown and broke his leg and they all said Oh dear that’s too bad and he said ‘Maybe.’ The following day the conscription officers came around to recruit to force people into the army and they rejected his son, because he had a broken leg and all the people came around and said Isn’t that great and he said ‘Maybe.’ You see, that is the attitude of not thinking of things in terms of gain or loss, advantage or disadvantage, because you don’t really know. The fact that you might get a letter from a solicitor I mean from a law office tomorrow. Saying that some distant relative of yours that left you a million dollars. Might be something you would feel very very happy about but the disasters that it could lead to what are believable. [crowd] Internal Revenue. To mention only one possibility.
So you never really know. Where the something is fortune or misfortune. But we only know the momentary changes and it as it alters our sense of hope about things. That Tao is wise enough eventually you see to understand that there isn’t any fixed good or bad. And so his point of view is what is called non choosing. Well anyway the attempted to keep his mind in a state of non choosing, and this was a very difficult thing to do, to overcome one’s habits of feeling and thinking in this respect, and after he had practiced this for a year the master looked at him. And you know sort of recognized he was there. After another years practice, he invited him to come and sit inside his hut. And then, however something changed and Lieh Tzu didn’t try anymore to control his mind what he did was he put it in this way. ‘I let my ears hear whatever they wanted to hear. I let my eyes see whatever they wanted to see. I let my feet move wherever they wanted to go, and I let my mind think of whatever it wanted to think.’ And then he said it was a very strange sensation because all my bodily existence seemed to melt and become transparent. And to have no weight, and I didn’t know whether I was walking on the window the wind was walking on me. Now that’s the fasting of the heart. In the ordinary way, you see, you say, well that made quite an impression on me. As if you were a slate. Or a blackboard upon which life makes an impression, as the chalk does on the slate on the blackboard. And so we say ‘Well here are these events and I’m the observer of all these events, and I remember them and they make an impression on me.’
But in the psychology of Taoism, there is no difference between you as observer. And whatever it is that you observe. The only thing that is you, is the observation of life from a certain point of view. I said a little while ago you think your heads are empty and blank. But the actual inside of your head is felt in terms of everything you see on the outside. We make an opposition, you see between the thinker and the thought the experiencer and the experience the knower and the known. Because we think about knowledge in terms of certain metaphors, the metaphor of the Stylus on the writing sheet. The reflection on the mirror. All those sort of images come into our idea of knowledge. But in the Taoist theory of knowledge, it’s quite different. There isn’t a knower facing the known. It would be more like saying that if there is any knower at all it contains the noun. Your mind if you have one is not in your head, your head is in your mind. Because your mind. Understood from the standpoint of vision is space.
The Chinese use this word Hoo. Which means sky, space and sometimes emptiness. And there is a saying. That form. Or you know shape and color was of this is one word in Chinese that means really both shape and color. And this and this are said to be identical. Space or emptiness is precisely shape color and shape color is precisely emptiness. This is actually a Buddhist saying from the Tridarya Sutra. So that, all that we call space contains the myriads of shapes and colors and bodies and weights and so on. It doesn’t it reflect them as a mirror. But it is the absence, which guarantees their presence, and it’s their presence which guarantees it’s absence. So there’s this mutual relationship again the book the mutual arising expression between voidness and form, between existence and nonexistence being and nonbeing. These are never felt as alternatives or things, that are in the some kind of contest.
So then, when it is said that there is not any thinker behind thoughts not any experiencer who has experiences, this is a way of saying. That experiencing, knowing is not an encounter, between strangers. Western thought concentrates very much on knowledge as an encounter and it is thus that we talk about facing facts. Facing reality. As if somehow or other the know and the known came from two completely different worlds and met each other like that. Whereas actually, the phenomenon of knowledge is almost the precise opposite of that. Instead of being a collision between the two wandering bodies in space, knowledge is much more like the expansion of a flower from the stem in the bud. Where the opposite points of the flower are the knower and the known. They are the terms of something which as it were, lies between them. Let me repeat. We tend in all our letters and common speech to think of life as an encounter between the knowing human being, the knowing mind and the world. They think of it not as an encounter buzzed as an expression. Not an impression. An expression. Of a process that has polarized itself coming out from the center and expressed itself in terms of opposites but of course this is the basis of the whole young un principle of. You know this jolly old thing. And where you’ve got two interlocked. What are they, fishes? Commas. Fascinating emblem. You call it a monad. Yes but there it is. This is a helix essentially, this grip. And this is the formation of spiral nebulae. And it’s the position of sexual intercourse.
I here, this is my I and you with your I. I’m trying to get to the middle of you you’re trying to get in the middle of me. And neither one of us exists without the other. This is yang, and yang the white in the in the dark. Yang the word young originally means. Or is associated with the south side of a mountain which is sunny yet in the north side which is dark. Yang is the north bank of a river which gets the sun yet as the south bank of a river which is in the shade. Now you see, you don’t get a mountain with only one side. The mountain if it’s a mountain a tall goes up and down. It’s like the wave you don’t get a wave which has a crest with no trough, or a trough with no crest, you can’t have half a wave.
So, yang and yin are quite different from each other. But just because they are different, they’re identical. And this is the important idea of the identical difference the saying goes in both dollars and Buddhism difference is identity, identity is difference. The Chinese word for is, is not quite the same as our word. This word which is usually used has rather the meaning of that, that. So they say would say difference that identity, identity that difference. And so this doesn’t mean quite, is exactly the same as, it means rather is in relation to. Or goes with. Necessarily involves. Difference necessarily involves identity, identity necessarily involves difference.
So yang and yin. There is no Yang without yin, no yin without yang. When I was first studying these things I was terribly bothered by how on earth I was going to see this multiple differentiated world as a unity. What what was going to happen? What would it be like to see that all things are one? The sages keep saying all things are one. And they all look to me so different. Because here was all this teacher ch-ch-ch-ch, going on around one and it was doing it in different ways all these people came on in different ways and they had all their houses and all their cars and all that this and that and the whole world book full of the most bony prickly differences. And I thought well I was supposed to happen is a supposed to be a kind of as if your eyesight got blurred and all these things I went blahhh and flowed together. What is it what does this experience of Nirvana, liberation and cetera supposed to be? Because so many of these especially Hindu sages write about as if he was just this kind of dissolution of everything. They said it all becomes like a slug with a small salt on it. Well I it took me a long time. And suddenly one day I realized, that the difference that I saw between things was the same thing as their unity. Because differences. Borders. Lines, surfaces, boundaries. Don’t really divide things from each other at all they join them together. Because all boundaries are held in common. It’s like, let’s think of a reversal of territory which is all been divided up into property. Your property my property etc etc No the fences but we hold that if I live next to you your fence is my fence. We hold the boundary in common. We may make up silly arrangements as to who is responsible for the maintenance of this fence, but nevertheless, we hold our boundaries in common. And we wouldn’t know what my plot of land was or where it was, unless we knew the definition of your plot of land in your plot of land that is adjoining. So boundaries are held in common. And I could see then that it, that my sense of being me. Was exactly the same thing as my sensation of being one with the whole cosmos. I didn’t need to get some other weird sort of different odd kind of experience to feel in total connection with everything. Once you get the clue, you see, that the sense of unity is inseparable from the sense of difference. You wouldn’t know yourself or what you meant by self, unless at the same time you have the feeling of something other.
Now it’s, the secret is that other eventually turns out to be you. I mean that’s the element of surprise and life. When suddenly you you find the thing most alien. We say now what is most alien to us. Go out at night and look at the stars and realize that they are millions and millions and billions of miles away. Vast conflagrations out in space, and you can lie back and look at that. Say, Well surely I hardly matter. I’m just a tiny tiny little peekaboo. On this weird spot of dust called Earth, and all that going on out there. Billions of years before I was born billions of years after I will die and nothing seems stranger to you that more different from me. But there comes a point if you watch long enough when you’ll say, ‘Why that’s mean. It’s the other. That is the condition of your being yourself. As the back is the condition of being the front. And when you know that. You know, you know you never die.