Paradox of Noise
by Gunilla Norris
It is a paradox that we encounter so much internal noise
when we first try to sit in silence.
It is a paradox that experiencing pain releases pain.
It is a paradox that keeping still can lead us
so fully into life and being.
Our minds do not like paradoxes. We want things
To be clear, so we can maintain our illusions of safety.
Certainty breeds tremendous smugness.
We each possess a deeper level of being, however,
which loves paradox. It knows that summer is already
Growing like a seed in the depth of winter. It knows
that the moment we are born, we begin to die. It knows
that all of life shimmers, in shades of becoming--
that shadow and light are always together,
the visible mingled with the invisible.
When we sit in stillness we are profoundly active.
Keeping silent, we hear the roar of existence.
Through our willingness to be the one we are,
We become one with everything.
Buddhist ancestors, out of their kindness, have opened the wide gate of compassion in order to let all sentient beings enter realization.
–Eihei Dogen Zenji "On the Endeavor of the Way" in Beyond Thinking
"All beings are connected: We are all bodhisattvas, not in the sense of being saviors running around taking care of everybody's problems, but through the truth of interconnectedness. There is no separation. We all belong to each other."
–Sharon Salzberg "Becoming the Ally of all Beings"
Harmony of Difference and Equality -- Sandokai
(Chant with no breaks between sentences)
The mind of the great sage of India is intimately transmitted
from west to east. While human faculties are sharp or dull,
the way has no northern or southern ancestors.
The spiritual source shines clear in the light; the branching streams flow on in the dark. Grasping at things is surely delusion;
according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
All the objects of the senses interact and yet do not.
Interacting brings involvement. Otherwise, each keeps its place.
Sights vary in quality and form, sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.
Refined and common speech come together in the dark,
clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light.
The four elements return to their natures, just as a child turns to its mother;
In the light there is darkness, but don’t take it as darkness;
in the dark there is light, but don’t see it as light.
Light and dark oppose one another like the front and back foot in walking.
Each of the myriad things has its merit,
expressed according to function and place.
Phenomena exist; box and lid fit. Principle responds; arrow points meet.
Hearing the words, understand the meaning; don’t set up standards of your own. If you don’t understand the way right before you,
how will you know the path as you walk?
Progress is not a matter of far or near, but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way. I respectfully urge you who study the mystery, do not pass your days and nights in vain.