one-sided light

Searching for commentaries on the Sandokai, I came across this one below which is a part of lectures given by Master Rev. Jiyu-Kennett and is copyright of Shasta Abbey.  Helmut’s comment in yesterday’s post encourages me to offer this snippet which reiterates not getting stuck and offers a glimpse of our True Nature.

And yet, in each related thing, as leaves
Grow from the roots, end and beginning here
Return unto the source and “high” and “low”
Are used respectively.
Within all light
Is darkness but explained it cannot be
By darkness that one-sided is alone.
In darkness there is light but, here again,
By light one-sided it is not explained.

Nirvana is here and now, in this very lifetime, and in eternity. But do not get stuck with light: “Oh, I am so holy, I am full of light.” Do not think, because there is darkness within you, you are forever doomed to darkness. The Essence flows through both and always has.

*Light goes with darkness as the sequence does
Of steps in walking; all things herein have
Inherent, great potentiality,
Both function, rest, reside within.

Because this line is so important the gong is struck. It is actually light and darkness within each step, not one after the other. It is because light and darkness are within each step that there is this inherent, great potentiality in both the light and the dark. No matter how dark the karma within you may seem, no matter how light, know that the essence of both is in fact identical. Thus there is the great potentiality for the end and the beginning to come together at the Source, and for both function and rest to reside within.

This isn’t easy to grasp and it absolutely cannot be apprehended with the thinking brain!  The dark karma seems particularly dense and impenetrable some days and the light insufficient.  And yet, this feels like a good place to rest and just feel the dance between the two.

Thank you for practicing,


6 thoughts on “one-sided light

  1. One of the hardest things for me – and I think for many of us – is to move beyond “black and white” views. To do so would mean that we might see black in white and white in black. Or, in other words, gray.

    The greatest teachers I’ve known have been experts at perceiving gray.

    And yet . . . the perception of gray (or the truth) does not complete the work. The great teachers rarely reside quietly in the Source.

    It’s like seeing a hungry person: “Oh, there’s a hungry person!” That is truth, but it doesn’t respond to the requirement of the moment.

    We must take one more step, into the function of truth. When a hungry person appears, feed them.

    Well, I’m just parroting Zen Master Seung Sahn, here. I rarely see the grays of my life and even more rarely come forward in response to the moment.

  2. Hey, Suzanne! Even in my fogginess it rings loudly for me!

    Barry, ever so slowly I’m beginning to understand Roshi Joan’s metaphor of an enlightened being as a puppet – move beyond concepts and just respond to what is needed in the moment.

    Christine, deep bows!

  3. If I can accept someday that darkness within then …no need for forgiveness..peace in the recognition of grayness

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