>From textual analysis of Sandokai
The Harmony of Difference and Equality
"The meaning is not in the words, but it responds to the inquiring
What follows are fragments.
"Grasping at things is surely delusion;
according with sameness is still not enlightenment."
Here is a monadic exploration of the unity of difference, which is not --
Mitsuni means 'exactly without a gap between the two.'
San do kai
"San" means "many" - "do" means "one".
Many are one, one is many.
When you say "many" the "many" things do not exist separately from each
other. They are closely related. If so, they are one. "One" is right and
"many" is right. When we conclude that reality is in fact just oneness the
whole discussion will take place in this understanding of the unity of one
Differentiation. Differentiation is equality, by virtue of difference. To
be different is to have value. In this sense all things have equal and
absolute value and is thus equal to everything else. Evaluation involves
us in standards of evaluation, exchange value, material value, spiritual
value and moral value. With this you can say "he is good" and "He is not
so good". In this case the moral standard defines the value. But the moral
standard is always changing, a virtuous person is not always virtuous, say
compared to Buddha. The river is not less valuable because it is low
compared to the height of the mountain top. Mountain top sits high and the
river sits low, differing quality offers equal value, and this equality
(residing in particularity, unique quality) enables absolute value to all
and everything. "If you only see from the perspective that says one is
different from many, your understanding is too materialistic and
These are anyway the thoughts of 'You crooked cucumber' pupil of the
Master Gyokujun So-on.
This 'crooked cucumber' was dull which was his advantage as he tells it.
He teaches thus, "When we understand potentiality in terms of nature, we
should be kind and generous to everyone because everyone naturally has the
possibility to be a buddha. But when we think in terms of "when", we
should be very strict. Do you understand? If you miss this time, if you do
not make a good effort this week or this year, you will always say
"tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow." You will miss a chance to attain
enlightenment, even though you have the possibility.
Listen for heavens sake, listen.
The most important factor is you yourself, rather than your teacher. When
you study hard, what you receive from your teacher is the spirit of study.
That spirit will be transmitted from warm hand to warm hand. You should do
it, that's all. Listen, listen will you? To practice is not to collect
things and put them in your basket, but rather to find something in your
Our approach is very wide, and as a Buddhist you have enormous freedom in
your study. Whatever you say is okay.
-- according with sameness is still not enlightenment.
Finally after many, many pages the master ends thus, -- as your mind works
logically, I have to be logical. If you are not logical, I can say
whatever I like. I can even sing a song. --
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