The English paradox derives, through Lain, from Greek para and doxa, 'contrary to opinion.' Yes, there is an inherent contrariness in truth. Truth stubbornly taunts us and, like trying to grab a wet fish, slips from our grasp before we even can grasp. When we look deeply enough, we see truth does not make sense. A wise person learns to live right in that nonsense, and he or she finds that nonsense makes absolute sense. Sitting right there in the stubborn contrariness of truth becomes a relief, a joy. Then, this pilgrimage with truth becomes playful. Paradox is one of the playful expressions of truth, as well as truth at times hiding, refusing to show itself. All play, so play with, for there is really no other way to live with truth. Paradox can be seen in the cosmic theories of science, or the simple home-spun, odoriferous emissions of some 59 percent nitrogen, 21 percent hydrogen, 9 percent carbon dioxide, 7 percent methane, 4 percent oxygen, and 1 percent hydrogen sulfide gas and mercaptans that leaves persons making funny looking faces and sends them soon scattering for fresh inhalations of plain, good ole air.
* * *
The late Sodo Sawaki (Japan), a mendicant Zen teacher in China, asked, "We cannot even share a fart with another, can we?"
*Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo.
* * *
as says the homeless sage
no fart sharing ~
from where comes a fart?
to where goes a fart?
when does the unfart become a fart?
when does the fart unbecome a fart?
who knows? ~
a fart is a fart
only one moment
and each are
a myriad in one moment
we are each alone the one moment
one with everyone
no one shares a fart ~
so never alone
you and I
so stop trying
to grab the fish
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So, there is the paradox ~ a fart, scent of a rose, you, I, everything is part of this undivided, seamless life, yet alone. Spiritual practice is working to sit right there in the paradox. We can watch the ego try to grasp this truth, yet each time, like that slippery fish, it eludes us. So, possibly, we are being invited to play, to appreciate we each ourselves are a slippery fish.
* * *
Sitting on this bench, some would say meditating, persons outside moving and talking, traffic moving along the highway. Sitting here, no one knows I am here. Surrounded, I am alone. I find something native about this, comforting, and death is not the scary thing it sometimes appears to be. I think it appropriate to call this home. Here, hands on thighs, butt on board, face slightly tilted, eyes lightly shut, nowhere to go and nothing to do, I sit. I was born here, live here, will die here. No one was born with me, lives with me, will die with me. I sit with everyone, alone. I relax. I notice breath breathing. I have learned not to try to grasp the fish. Paradox swims around me, I smile, we play together, timeless children.
*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.
The Sacred in Me bows
to the Sacred in You