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Buddhadharma : Summer 2017
22 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 2 0 1 7 Destroyed Not Destroyed Obliterating all opposites and relativities, cut- ting off all doubt—what phrase can we use? The Capitol is not an inch of a step away. The greatest mountain only weighs three pounds. But tell me— on what principle do you stand to see it like this? —Translation by Thomas Cleary This is the introduction to Case 30 in the Book of Serenity, a collection of one hundred Zen stories. It tells us that if we can really understand the story that follows, we can be free of our various opposi- tions and dualities—in other words, free from our normal fearful ways of conceiving ourselves and the world. We think our goals and ideals are far away and we punish ourselves for not having realized them—but they, like the Capitol, are not far away. They are right here. We think we have problems as weighty as mountains—but our human problems are light as a feather. Here is the story: A monk asked Dasui, “When the fire at the end of an aeon rages through and the whole universe is destroyed, is this destroyed or not?” Dasui said, “Destroyed.” The monk said, “Then it goes along with that?” Dasui said, “It goes along with that.” A monk asked Longji, “When the fire ending the aeon rages through and the whole universe is destroyed, is this destroyed or not?” Longji said, “Not destroyed.” The monk said, “Why is it not destroyed?” Longji said, “Because it is the same as the universe.” The story seems to be talking about the end of the world as we know it—a very contemporary theme. These days, we are quite fearful about the future. We seem, on many fronts, to be facing serious lim- its. It’s scary. (FACINgPAgE)europeansouthernobservatory In his commentary on the koan “Dasui’s Aeonic Fire,” norman Fischer takes on the end of the world. It’s happening right now, he says, but probably not in the way that you think.