“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinion for or against.” – Sengstan
Sengstan was the Third Zen Patriarch, known in Japanese as Kanchi Sosan. This quotation is from his famous Zen poem, “Faith Mind.”
I’ve been asking myself how I can “hold no opinion for or against” when I see someone I love doing things that cause her pain. Perhaps when “love and hate are both absent” this is possible, but even then, can this work in all situations? Is there a difference between drinking oriyoki tea with all the bits and pieces of residual food and not making a distinction, not even squirming when that taste crosses your lips and slides down your throat, and not saying anything when someone you love is way off track? But look, the operative word here is “love” and I’m already making distinctions between one thing and another. I have so many opinions.
However, who was Kanchi Sosan? He was a monk. Probably celibate. Very little is known about him. If he had been a woman who had carried a child in his womb for nine months would/could he have written these words?
Perhaps I need to keep these words in mind while still doing what needs to be done in the Relative. Zen is also about looking at what is right in front of you and responding to that in a skillful way. Perhaps speaking up and having an opinion can also be upaya, skillful means.
Maezumi Roshi said to me, “You know what to do.” These five simple little words have a profound meaning. Look at them. Be with them.
I will honor my own innate wisdom.