Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Joy of Awakening

Someone asked:

I see the trees bend. I feel the sun. I hear the birds sing. I see my daughter skip before me. I feel joy in the moment. But is that joy illusory; transient and born of the cravings of the self, or is it zen itself, the illusion stripped away and the universe revealed?
I struggle with this simple question.

My reply: 

Great simple question, that because of its very simplicity, will evoke very different and contradictory responses!

The word "joy" can refer to selfish illusions or the true nature of the universe revealed.

The Sutra of Queen Srimala's Lion's Roar says joy is one of the paramitas of the Dharmakaya. So there is nothing wrong with joy. By a paramita of the Dharmakaya is meant that joy can carry us over to the other shore of the true suchness of the Dharmakaya.

But of course we can have illusions of and about joy just like we can have illusions about everything based on our antithetical polarized conceptions.

To struggle with this question is an example of the natural arising of a koan of life (genjo koan).  Keep the "don't know" of inquiring doubt alongside the faith in joy as a manifestation of suchness and resolve the apparent dilemma on your own with the struggle of determined practice.


Someone else responded to the first question with:

Joy and happiness and suffering are all things that change.
The saying goes, "This too shall pass." Transient.
Born of greed, hatred, ignorance.



To which I replied:

This presumes the definition of "joy" as something belonging on the list of all things that change. Joy is definitely not something born of the three poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance, so it doesn't belong on the list.

Actually, joy never changes, it is only our thoughts about joy that change.  The never beginning and never ending continual radiation of the joy of the Dharmakaya is like the light of the sun always shining but being obscured by clouds or by the rotation of the earth.

When we see the trees bending in the wind, the beauty of the flowers, or the zest of the children and these bring us joy, that joy is the joy of the Dharmakaya manifesting.  If we mistake that joy as being dependent on the trees, the flowers, and the children, then we are mistaking joy for something that is impermanent and changing because we are confusing true and genuine joy with the object that is associated with arousing our recollection of the joy of awakening!  That confusion is what is born by the three poisons, not the joy.

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1 comment:

jps said...

Beautiful and true, thank you.

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