The third myth is the ‘duality’ of -O- and Man.
Just as the world can reveal itself as particles, the Tao can reveal itself as human beings. Though world and particles aren't the same, neither are they different. Though the cosmic body and your body aren't the same, neither are they different. Worlds and particles, bodies and beings, time and space: All are transient expressions of the Tao.
Chapter 33, Hua Hu Ching, (Partial)
As I talked about above, reality does not consist of minds/bodies existing in some parallelism, or -O- on the one hand, and Nature on the other. In the same line of thought, it is not a duality here either. Oneness does not consist of two distinct entities; Oneness is simply Oneness. I submit this is not an existential reality but a logical paradox, as I’ve discussed earlier. We build lovely campfire stories about what is -O- and what is Man but the trouble is that we take the campfire story we like best and believe it is real.
Let us think of -O- as the Yin and Man as the Yang of the Taiji. Man would not exist without -O- and -O- would not exist without Man. The Totality is not Yin, nor is it Yang; it is not two things acting in harmony, as many look at it, but a harmonious Oneness. Hinduism has a lovely campfire story in the Avatar, but I prefer to tell a variation on the story. The avatar is not, in my version of the story, a special incarnation of -O- in times of great need; each of us is an avatar.
One of the greatest ideas that has ever been produced is the Hindu idea that the world is a drama in which the central and supreme self behind all existence has gotten lost and has come to believe that it is not the one supreme self, but all the creatures there are.
Looking at it this way sheds light on this so-called dualism of -O- and Man.
A version of this campfire story tells us that Reality is a dream -O- is experiencing. Basically, there are two different types of dreams, the kind where we take the dream as reality and a lucid dream, wherein the dreamer realizes they are dreaming. We can image it this way, the unenlightened person is -O- still lost in dreamland and the enlightened person is -O- having a lucid dream.
In the part where I yap about the ‘duality’ between Man and Nature, I stated that we are the universe become alive and aware. In this ‘duality’, we are -O- become aware. It is as if each one of us functions as a sense organ for -O- and this is how -O- experiences the dream. This could be what the Buddhists are hinting at with the Theory of Transmigration. On one hand, there is the denial of individual souls traversing the Cycle of Nonbeingness to Beingness to Nonbeingness, yet on the other hand, there is silence about what is traversing the Cycle.
In this particular version of the campfire story, a person moves from Nonbeingness to Beingness when -O- ‘starts’ a dream and moves to Nonbeingness when -O- ‘wakes up’ from that dream. This does not say that one person is a reincarnation of another because in the Divine Oneness, there is only -O- on the Cycle; each person is a Dreamshape -O- assumes. Perhaps Chuang Tzu has the best rendition of the story. This particular campfire story has made sense to me since the first time I read it.
Once Chuang Chou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Chuang Chou. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Chuang Chou. But he didn't know if he was Chuang Chou who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Between Chuang Chou and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things.
The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu, translated by Burton Watson
I submit this is one way of understanding “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed.”
Man is the dream, -O- is the dreamer, and Oneness is the dreaming.
So what does all this mean? There is no duality in any of the issues I raised in this little blurb; no matter where we look, there is Oneness at the existential level. Call it what you will, God, -O-, Allah, Brahman, Tao, Unity, it doesn’t matter. Names are nothing but attachments; they aren’t the thing in itself. We point our finger there and say “This”. We point our finger here and say “That”. It is not the pointer or the pointee that is the reality, the pointing is the reality.
Life is a verb. Life is not a noun, it is really "living" not "life." It is not love, it is loving. It is not relationship, it is relating. It is not a song, it is singing. It is not a dance, it is dancing. See the difference, savor the difference.
Chuang Tzu was right on the mark - recognize there are boundaries between ‘this’ and ‘that’ but do not make idols of them.
When you focus on ‘this’ you lose touch with ‘that’. Through focusing on ‘that’, your sense of ‘this’ vanishes. Spend too much time clinging to one or the other and you end up taking a lopsided image of reality as reality itself. To paraphrase Dogen - Do not take the word ‘mountain’ for the mountain; the actual mountain is much grander than the word ‘mountain’ can ever be. Do not take the actuality of -O- for whatever word you choose to use for the same reason.
-O- is much grander than any and all things that can, and more than likely will, be said. The same holds true for Nature as it does for Man.
When this is understood, it is obvious that walking, eating, sitting, washing, and working are done in God, may therefore be done in a contemplative way, to the glory of God, and thus done constitute the real translation of liturgy into life.
There is nowhere you can touch and not feel -O-. There is nowhere you can look and not see -O-. There is nowhere you can listen and not hear -O-. It is -O- that you drink when you are thirsty and it is -O- you eat when you are hungry.
No matter which way we turn, we are in the midst of the Divine Oneness, thusly in the Presence of -O-.
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© 2011 by Dino Meurs