Dear friend, don’t you see this man of the Way,
who does not seek the truth,
nor flees from delusions?
This is the first verse of the Shodoka, the Song of Awakening, written by Master Yoka Daishi.
Yoka Daishi gives us a piece of friendly advice. This man of the Way understood that the three poisons – ignorance, greed, hatred – belong to human functioning. He knows that these three poisons play a role in our representation of reality.
We cannot find the truth in our passionate points of view. As soon as we speak with passion, our point of view is distorted. That is why the Man of the Way does not participate in the concert of discordant voices, in the cacophony that is rising in humanity today. Thinking: “I have the truth, you are wrong” is an infantile attitude.
The three poisons are shared by all human beings. Buddha does not ask to suppress them. He asks that we hold ourselves beyond the three poisons. Some are worshippers of greed, others are worshippers of aversion… Everyone thinks they hold the truth, then war appears…
Do you not see, dear friend, this man of the Way?
He no longer seeks the truth, he does not flee from delusions.
He is not fooled, he knows that everything that appears to his mind are only fleeting and relative forms, forms distorted by karma. He prefers to stand beyond, open to reality as it is.
Lying, cheating, stealing, violence… all that exists within us. All this feeds a passionate functioning. All this feeds our rigidities. Some people have strong ideas about what is right, what is wrong. Don’t be fixed in your conceptions. Going beyond is our practice.
Everyone agrees with what I say, as long as it only concerns others.
Everyone thinks his or her point of view is right. This fanatical attitude comes from a misunderstanding of what thoughts are. Thoughts are only limited, fleeting, conventional representations of what is, but they are in no way reality itself.
Some people say: “It is my god that is true, yours is not true.” The absolute is beyond anything we can think of. The absolute cannot be grasped by words, let alone by a fevered brain.
Please do not add your discordant voice to the ambient cacophony. This is what we practice in zazen when we let an idea, an emotion, a point of view appear and disappear without becoming attached to it – when we keep our mind open, available.
In the end, I do what I should do and I don’t do what I shouldn’t do. What I have to do is to keep coming back to a peaceful mind, an open heart. What I shouldn’t do is to sharpen my weapons to always be right, ready to eliminate everything that is not in accordance with my conceptions.
I had a dream… Martin Luther King dreamed that peace would prevail; it is the dream of all the Buddhas. To be together in peace, beyond everything that separates us.
Taiun JP Faure, November 2020