Phap Hien was a Vietnamese Zen master. He lived in the late 5th century and early the 6th century. When he was a young monk at the Phap Van Temple he met Vinitaruci (?-594) who was one of the successors of Seng-tsan, the Third Patriarch...
WHAT WOULD ONE SAY? (TOO MANY PAIRS OF SHOES)
There is a saying goes like this:
"Too many pairs of steel shoes were worn out by walking and seeking along the roads, But nothing could be found after he got over ten thousand miles. Suddenly he saw it right under his feet without toil."
The d.o.m.'s comment: What did he suddenly see right under his feet without toil? Does it exist or not? Speak! Speak!
The d.o.m.'s verse: Because of being-ness and nothing-ness, Many seekers get blue-n-black. Because of nothing-ness and being-ness, Not a few of them get black-and-blue. Huh!
Visitor 1: In order to take the first step in such a journey, he had to trust himself.. in order to stop and look underfoot.. he had to trust that the world would not jump him while he wasnt looking... and so he found his awe.. not a 'what'.. a way..
the d.o.m.: What is "his awe" that he found?
Visitor 1: Websters Dictionary-Awe: [from the greek word achos, meaning pain.] a: Emotion in which dread, veneration, and wonder are variously mingled. b: Wondering reverence tinged with fear inspired by the sublime.
the d.o.m.: Good! You are a man of dictionaries, too. Right? If so, The dom got a new friend here, at least, on the level of words and their meanings as accepted by ordinary persons like you and the dom.
Now the dom would like take one step from the level of words. Is this o.k. for you? If so, he would go like this: Could you describe "his awe" that he found? At this point, there is something the dom would like to make it clear a little bit.
What the dom would like to know a little more clear is: Were you the person who found "his awe" or someone else found it? If you were the one who found it, could you describe it in some words then the dom might see and feel it like you did? In other words 'what' or 'who' you saw made you felt such an "awe"?
If you were not the person who found it (his awe), then never mind.
Visitor 1: um.. ok.. theres a voice, its just a whisper.. what is it saying? I cant here it.. can you? we have to get very quiet.. listen.. its very soft but a little louder now.. what is it saying? its screaming now but we still cant hear it.. we must rise some.. and meet it.. dont be afraid.. ok.. here we go.. OH!.. sing! .. it was screaming ... "SING!".. there now I told you we could come back.. we are shaken, but I think we can ablige.. would you like to sing with me? " the itsy bitsy spider, climed up the water spout..." ..... do you understand?
You asked: "Does the dom understand what you are trying to tell him?"
Sure. He understood it very well but it was not an "awe" to him at all, according to the definition which you quoted from the Webster dictionary. It was just some kind of hocus-pocus. Therefore, he does not think that you were the one who saw it. That's would be enough to him and he would like to say thanks to you for the very nice performance like that one.
Visitor 1: You're welcome dom... I am sorry you could not share my awe with me..I guess you just had to be there.. I hope you find what you are looking for.
the d.o.m.: Oh! When the dom said he understood very well what you showed that meant he already share with you a lot.
Don't you think that understanding each other is good enough when we talk together?
To the dom, understanding each other - not experiences or knolegde of any kinds, no exception - is the best thing on the earth.
Visitor 1: Oh, very good... yes, I suppose this would be called communication. so often it seems us humans are not able to fully communicate with each other.. everyone seems mostly to be thinking of themselves.. and so understanding gets distorted and makes misunderstandings.. so it is hard to really know another person that way.. but i think if we can learn to see ourselves without hating ourselves.. then we have a much better chance at knowing another.. why do think so many of us have this self-hatred?
We are always communicating crystal clear to everyone all the time, the problem is we are always looking in instead of looking out, and don't see what the other person is communicating.
yes.. it does seem to be so.. we are so fragile.. what secret is it that we are trying so hard to conceal from ourselves? are we afraid we might blow away into thin air? it seems we must constantly protect ourselves from something... I think emotions are important here but I dont know how or why.. I dont think we like to feel exreme emotions.. perhaps we are protecting ourselves from this?
the d.o.m.: The dom's question is like this: Can one really understands another through his experiences and knowlege?
Visitor 1: We all know what it means to suffer, that is all the experience necessary, the rest is up to us allowing ourself to see exactly what the other person is communicating.
the d.o.m.: Can we look at experiences or knowledge in some other way?
Analytically speaking, about experiences, it might be said: the one is happening and the ones already passed away.
With the one is happening, we just could communicate with each other when the other is of the same state of awareness. It is a direct communication without any other past experiences or the known.
In the one is happening, there is no images or impression of any kinds which have been stored in one's memory.
In other words, experiences and images or impression which we perceived from others through our six sense bases are the seeds of thought manipulated by the mind. The seeds have been accumulated continuously from millions of history of human kind and become our knowledge or the known. And each of has our own and different kinds of experiences or knowledge accumulated in our memory. We recall them at any time we need to protect ourself. They are our self. Properly, they are the "self", the "me", or the "ego" in each of us. Whenever, our experience and knowldge is touched or hurt by other, we immediately react to protect it. Right? The more experiences, especially the ones called 'spiritual experiences' one got, the thicker his ego or "me" or "self" is. And we already know that our ego is an iron wall to any other who wants to get in.
Therefore, it might be said that experiences and kowledge are one of the biggest obstruction in understanding each other in human beings. If one could look at a tree without any knowledge of biology or technology of a paper manufacturer, for example, then it would be as beautiful as it is. And at that moment there is no division between the one lookes at the tree and the tree itself.
The same is with a human being and a human being. True Understanding and Love only occur between us and others when there is no obstruction or division of this kind.
Visitor 1: Yes.. agreed..all true.. I would only add: everyone alive today has experienced this, (what you call true understanding and love), AND the emotion that comes with it is exremely intense.. there is no use trying to separate emotion from experience.. while this can be done on intellectual level, (just as you could intellectually separate yourself from others..) In my humble opinion, it can not be done in reality..
Visitor 2: It is possible, and not on some intellectual level, but until that is possible for a person, then what you say is exactly right.
the d.o.m. 09/26/03
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