Beyond Acceptance And Rejection

The vision “neither this nor that” feels so negative, so absolutely negative. How can I be accepting or even creative with this? I feel totally confused.

Mind lives in the duality of the positive and the negative. It lives like a pendulum, moving from yes to no, from no to yes. It cannot live in the absolute yes, it cannot live in the absolute no. Absolute yes means now there is no possibility for the pendulum to move anywhere. Absolute no also means the same: no space for the mind to play games. Anything absolute is a death for the mind.

There are two possibilities to kill the mind, to transcend the mind: either absolute yes or absolute no. The Upanishads have used the first possibility, absolute yes, and Buddha has used the second possibility, absolute no. But look deeply and you will find they are not different, they are bridged by the same phenomenon – absoluteness. Anything absolute becomes the grave of the mind; it needs duality to exist.

That’s why you are so afraid of the absolute negative, because in the absolute you start disappearing. You are your mind. Of course, there is something more in you than your mind, but you are not aware of it. And as you start disappearing, fear arises, confusion arises; one is scared, one wants to cling to whatsoever is available to cling to.

It is because of this miracle of the absolute that God has been synonymous with the absolute. God means the absolute. Either say absolute yes and your mind disappears, or say absolute no and your mind disappears.

Why has Buddha chosen to say absolute no, why not absolute yes? For a certain reason: with the absolute yes there is one danger. The danger is that you may not understand the absoluteness of the yes; you may still go on thinking that it is your old positivity. With the absolute no that danger is not possible. With the absolute no, death seems so clear that you cannot miss it – hence the confusion.

This confusion is good. Don’t try to escape from it, go deeper into it. Soon it will become a chaos – not just confusion but chaos. When all that you have known about yourself is shattered, when all that you have believed in has evaporated, when all that you were identified with has slipped out of your hands – the very earth beneath you is no longer available, you are falling and falling into a bottomless abyss – that is chaos. And only out of chaos are stars born. Out of chaos is creativity.

Excerpted From Walking In Zen, Sitting In Zen CH: 4


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