The Short-Stop


‘How Deluded I Was! How Deluded Indeed!
Lift-Up The Screen and Come See The World!
‘What Religion Believest Thou?’ You Ask,
I Raise My Hossu And Hit Your Mouth.’

Chokei [Ch’ang-ch’ing Hui-ling, 853–932 CE]

The legend goes that the above ‘Moment of Enlightenment’ verse was still not considered confirmatory and Chokei had to get back on the Meditation Mat. Shūnyam would relish this verse just as it is.

If someone stops by your door and asks: ‘What is Truth?’, you pack him a sandwich, show him the ‘Backward Step’, and suggest that he watch-out for falling rocks and deceptively shallow puddles. Other than that, you don’t say a word. [The late-stage teachings were Rahásya, ‘Secret’; ‘Mute’, from the Sanskrit Mūka. See the Posts on ‘Silence’].

If you must say a word, it may only be as Self-Eating Expression. And its limit is as the Symbol ‘0’.

Religion in its broadest sense begins with the assignment of a Name other than as ‘Nameless’, a certified Self-Negating Expression.

An far back as the early Upaniṣads, names proliferate: Subtle Essence; Imperceptible; Omniscient; Omnipresent; Omnipotent; Unattached; Unfetterred.

Cherished human virtues are foisted on top of them: Compassionate, Happy, Generous, Just, Kind, Loving, Merciful, Motherly and so on. The standard wish-list of the beginning practioneer.

You will find close variants of this list in every formal religious tradition. Just skim the opening pages.

Here is a short-list, premature photographs clicked in a stopping-short of Shūnyam. 

‘The All’, Absence, Awareness, Being, [A Physical] Body, [A] Code, Co-Dependence, Consciousness, Emptiness, Energy, Essence, Existence, Form, Groundlessness, Impermanence, Infinity, Inner-Being, Intelligence, Life-Force, [Man-Made, Man-Like] Gods, Mind, No-Mind, No-Thought, Nothingness, Now-ness, Not-Nothing, Nullity, Organizing-Principle, Presence, Silence, Soul, Space, Spirit, Stillness, That-ness, Totality, ‘True-Self’, Unconscious, Unity, Void…

Many on the above list are in fact perfectly good Self-Eating Expressions [‘The All’, for example]. The problem is that they have not been recognized as such and the self-scuttle is prematurely truncated. [That is, truncated before a sighting of ‘True Nothing’]

Then come the new vocabularies denoting mysterious, self-sustaining higher-powers and self-tripping abstractions coming out of Universities, Research Houses and Scholarly publications. And of course the best-selling airport-paperbacks of Pop-Philosophers.

It’s a long list. We’ll look at them gradually in the course of the Posts.

As with Model, as with the Two-ness Template, as with the notions of ‘Realization and Ignorance’, there are no real short-stops, because there is, was, no Separated ‘Self’ all along. But until you see that, the notion of a ‘short-stop’ as pedagogic tool can be very helpful to mark the route.

Nirvāṇa And Saṃsāra