Monthly Archives: December 2021

Season of Stillness

By and large our completed series on Zuowang predominately stated that spiritual stability is the main component in a successful contemplative enterprise. This has much to do within Unborn Mind Zen on the Recollection of the Unmoving Principle–one that bypasses the diurnal moving samsaric wheel of dukkha. This is mostly orchestrated in the contemplative dimension of one-pointedness of mind, or Bi guan, thus quieting the mind from all sensory outflows. Also in league with our own spiritual tradition, Zuowang reinforced the notion of guarding the One. To do so without wavering involves ceaselessly recollecting the Unborn Buddha Mind as motionless and undisturbed in the Void. In doctrinal terms this One Singularity of Mind intuits itself and nothing else. This is also known within Unborn Mind Zen as Turning the Light around and protecting the Garbha-child. Essentially this involves an ever-abiding vigilance over the developing Child of Light (Bodhichild). This is singularly unique since the concentrated point of Unborn Light does indeed form mystically into the beloved Child of Suchness. A critical moment wherein the Spiritual-Principle transforms into a spiritual-child of light; from this moment onwards, it is this developing garbha-germ that now resumes the Recollective Resolve. Thus, the adept is really never alone during the Dark Night of Contemplation, as one is pregnant with this immaculate seed of all Buddhas. In terms of a Daoist formulation Qi can now flow smoothly throughout the body and spirit. read more

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Fire the Photon Torpedoes!

To reinforce once again, within Zuowang stability is paramount. In this sense mind indeed must become stabilized—immovable—which within Unborn Mind Zen we refer to continually Recollect the Unmoving Principle. The following Tozen video from our Bodhichild channel on YouTube refines this in excellent fashion: read more

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The Nine Realms of Darkness

The opening of the great Dhammapada, or the Law of Illumination, states that what the mind focuses on determines its reality. Anger is included here as being most dominant—as The Dhammapada in Light of the Unborn says, “hate is not pure but draining, indeed it is Mind turned against itself. Being free from hate and all abusive thoughts is the beginning of purification and the embrace of sweet peacefulness.” Zuowang paints a similar formulation when it comes to being tangled up in emotional affairs: read more

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The Modernity Fallacy

Zuowang has utilized different techniques designed for self-transformation via transcending personal-selfhood in ideally becoming unified with the Dao. Techniques such as regulating the breath, sitting in detached mindfulness, as well as ecstatic raptness. Many of these have become instituted in Westernized procedures that favor technique over substance. read more

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In the Daoist system Buddhaic dhyāna is translated as the stability of “cosmic peace.”

The adept has left all worldly involvements and deliberations behind and, as the Zuowang lun says, has reached “the first foothold of Dao.” The state of mind he finds himself in is characterized by a twofold structure, perfect serenity on the inside and a “heavenly light” radiating on the outside. This pair is also described as tranquility and wisdom in accordance with Zhuangzi terminology or as concentration and insight following Buddhist usage. (ibid, pg. 98) read more

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The Great Pervasion

For an added appraisal of our initial post in this series, Livia Kohn defines Zuowang thusly:

Zuowang 坐忘, “sitting in oblivion,” signifies a state of deep meditative absorption and mystical oneness, during which all sensory and conscious faculties are overcome and which is the base point for attaining Dao. I translate wang as “oblivion” and “oblivious” rather than “forgetting” or “forgetful” because the connotation of “forget” in English is that one should remember but doesn’t do so, or—if used intentionally—that one actively and intentionally does something in the mind. None of these holds true for what ancient and medieval Daoists were about. This is borne out both by the language and the writings: the word wang in Chinese consists of the character xin for “mind-heart,” usually associated with conscious and emotional reactions to reality and the word wang for “obliterate” or “perish.” The implication is—as indeed described in the sources—that one lets go of all kinds of intentional and reactive patterns and comes to rest in oneness with spirit and is ready to merge completely with Dao. (ibid, pg. 1) read more

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Zuowang is a very rich Daoist term which will be our focus for this new series.

Zuowang:Sitting in oblivion. In later Daoism a technical term used to describe a state of deep trance or intense absorption, the notion of zuowang occurs first in the Zhuangzi, with the classical passage found in ch. 6: “I smash up my limbs and body, drive out perception and intellect, cast off form, do away with understanding, and make myself identical with the Great Thoroughfare”. The idea here as well as in the later tradition is a mental state of complete unknowing that involves a loss of personal identity and self and is the utter immersion in the nonbeing of the universe. (Daoism Handbook, pg. 46, edited by Livia Kohn) read more

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