Embracing the Wise and the Foolish

A wise person learns the mystery of existence in a flash
And climbs in a leap beyond the world of hollow phenomena,
Whereas a foolish person holds willfully to facts and details,
To drown in subtle differences of words and lines,

Not happy with these lines above. There is a strong pointing to the opposites and for most people, this can be a grand opportunity to climb aboard the ‘foolish’ label and stick it securely to the self. Where it can remain for decades, which is indeed foolish! Or, and this happens, one sticks on the wise label and believes oneself to have ‘lept beyond the world of hollow phenomena’. Maybe so, maybe not but this is still within the realm of the opposites.

One does come across texts that extol the reader to let go of the intellect and allow oneself to ‘leap’ or more often to ‘let go’ of discursive thinking and habitual behaviour. As is said above, ‘to drown in’ and ‘to hold willfully’ to facts, details, subtle differences of words and lines, neither any of us would want to do, certainly not for extended periods of time. It takes as long as it takes to realise the futility of such thinking. So I take the lines from the poem by Ryokan copied above as a strong pointing past what we often term ‘the ordinary mind’. Such teachings can be and are a powerful reminded of the futility of such thinking.

The ‘leap’ then is a leap of faith/trust that there is a deeper aspect to ourselves/existence that is not available via the normal means of understanding ‘why things are the way they are’ and to work out how to change them in oneself or others or both.

Faith in this tradition does not need or require an ‘object of faith, nor is ‘blind faith’ what’s being pointed to. Rev. Master Jiyu said in my hearing that the solution to all koans, including the koan of daily life, is a leap of faith. I’d think this was about doing something deliberately with my mind. I’ve learnt that it’s the opposite, that it’s to deliberately decide NOT to do something! Committing to sitting still in formal meditation is to deliberately decide not to something, anything, one could be doing and JUST SIT! And to simply and actively engage with ‘what is’. This embraces the ‘wise’ and the ‘foolish’, without discrimination.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 thoughts on “Embracing the Wise and the Foolish”

  1. Perhaps the gaps between the words express a deeper truth than the words themselves. Perhaps that assists us not to start discriminating and analysing ?

  2. The band/group “Jethro Tull” song springs to mind. “wise men don’t know what its like to be thick as a brick”. Just contemplating the thought……

  3. From what I understand,the words are always going to be inadequate ? Some paint a better picture than others ?
    Fingers pointing at the moon ? Or paintings of rice cakes ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.