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Buddhadharma : Summer 2015
52 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 5 possession. In this example we’ve seized at a glance the essence of the universe. So lucid a gaze is not explicable: it’s to have the eye. In the old days, there were no glasses for regard- ing the sky, nor X-rays, nor microscopes. None of these existed, so you had to equip yourself with eyes capable of seeing well without instruments. Then one day an eye perceived reality in its totality. This extraordinarily piercing eye saw itself as well as others. It penetrated happiness and unhappiness. Regarding all things with his prodigious eye, for the first time a world appeared to Shakyamuni in which nothing existed. One day in an outhouse, a worm fell on a sheet of ice. A compassionate soul saw this pitiable worm in great danger and deposited it in a place where it could be warm all night. The next morning it was dead. What the man thought of as good luck was not good luck for the worm. We’re wrong to think that what makes for the happiness or unhappiness of some does so for others as well. We must develop the power of our eye to see with a single glance rich and poor, man and woman. If we consider only the happiness of one or the other, we see nothing at all. When we embrace all things at a single glance, we have mastery over the universe. However, we can’t do things by half or stop along the way. We can’t remain suspended in confusion. We must go to the end, to the point where we awaken to true reality. When one establishes the reality of things, nei- ther man nor dharma remains. One perceives simul- taneously the emptiness of man and the emptiness of the dharma. Now, illusions have their root in that which gives a person specificity, the self. That’s to say that one’s point of view is subjective and personal. Or to put it another way, we don’t go beyond human subjectiv- ity. We are not in a continuum with the universe; we are in a continuum with ourselves. It is written: “Abandon the ego’s notions, abandon also the dual- ism of empty man and empty dharma.” When we awaken to the emptiness of all things, ego no longer exists. Nothing hinders us any longer. We consider birth to be a happy event, but birth must not be systematically filed under the category “good luck.” We are also accustomed to speaking of death as an unhappy event. In truth, one should We do not embrace the universe with a single glance and so we weep and we laugh. When our vision is total, there’s neither attraction nor repulsion— things are simply what they are. If we chase them all away, nothing exists in us any longer. It is written: “In cutting the bonds of karma, one finds calm in all things. One no longer thinks in terms of good or evil; one no longer distin- guishes the true from the false.” In short, one has a total and immediate vision of the real. Thus it best serves our purpose to look over our glasses or, bet- ter yet, to take them off. Seizing the universe at a glance is a problem of quality, not quantity. Even when the distance to the limits of the universe is measured in thousands of light years, beyond that remains the unknown. In the Lotus Sutra, the duration of the universe is estimated as five hundred cosmic cycles. Whether infinitely large or infinitely small, the world is unlimited. The true problem is neither time nor space, but the essence of the universe. We do not embrace the universe with a single glance and so we weep and we laugh. When our vision is total, there’s neither attraction nor repul- sion—things are simply what they are, that’s all. This is only this; that is only that. Yet we can’t comprehend that social work, whose purpose is to do good, may not make the beneficiary happy. I always say that one ought to beg from the poor. The indigent person thus thinks, “They can still ask something of me,” and instantly rediscovers lost dignity. This is why Shakyamuni sought alms of the most miserable of the miserable. When one gives, one is not poor. The proof is that a rich man abhors being given alms, for it devalues his most impor- tant attribute, money, without which he no longer exists. He loathes receiving as a gift his most valued