turning in both directions

In Yaoshan’s Nonthinking, Daido Loori Roshi teaches on the tendency of mind to take the dualistic stance to experience.  The capping verse is lovely:

When the dharma wheel turns
it always goes in both directions.
The still point is its hub, and from here,
all of our myriad activities emerge.
Rather than give solace to the body,
give solace to the mind.
When both body and mind are at peace,
all things appear as they are:
perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

He continues:

The capping verse:

When the dharma wheel turns it always goes in both directions. The still point is its hub, and from here, all of our myriad activities emerge. The turning of the dharma wheel in both directions simultaneously is the merging of the differences: good/bad, thinking/not thinking, up/down, self/other, on the mountain/in the world, monk practice/lay practice, and on and on. Our minds are dualistic and our tendency is always to look at things in terms of that dualism. In the Sandokai (the Identity of Relative and Absolute), we chant, “The absolute and the relative fit like a box and its lid… it’s like the foot before and the foot behind in walking. Within darkness there is light, but do not look for that light. Within light there is darkness, but do not try to understand that darkness.” These are concepts that are hard to understand, but that can be experienced once the mind stops moving. “When the dharma wheel turns it always goes in both directions” refers to the Fifth Rank of Master Dongshan where unity is finally attained, where absolute and relative, self and other, this and that, thinking and non-thinking, become unified.

This is nice.  There aren’t a whole lot of deep insights.  I’m just really aware of the huge weight of an uncompromising workload and my tendency to submit when there are extraordinary demands.  Yet even that is just a concept, a belief that the wheel can only turn or be stuck.  So it’s very nice when, for a moment, the life is a dharma wheel turning in both directions, when I don’t have to figure things out, when the simplest act is sufficient, when Interbeing and lovingkindness are one and the same.

Thank you for practicing,


3 thoughts on “turning in both directions

  1. Great reminder that the wheel turns ..in all directions. Sitting is sometimes like being at the centre of the hub ‘the moveless mover’ Other times it feesl like the spinning..dizzying..mind unfettered. Thanks for the breath. It is always there to bring me back.

  2. “but do not try to understand that darkness”. I can spend a lot of time on this one! My effort to control it and perhaps make it “nice”. I can’t hear this enough times!

  3. In any case, we’re going to continue rolling down the road, some road, any road. Sometimes we’ll like the scenery, sometimes not. But we keep on rolling nonetheless. (Until we come to a complete stop.)

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