Saturday, January 8, 2011

One Hand Clapping

There are Zen Koans which ask, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" and "if a tree falls in the forest with no one around, does it make a sound."
The cognitive therapy of Zen encourages the listener to recognize the inherent dualism of mind. For sound to be heard there must be ears. All perceptions is limited by this dualism however the true inspiration knowledge is beyond sensation, transcendent and knowing.

Psalm 19, the great nature psalm and hymn sings: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge."

"There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

The answer in Psalm 19 is that God exists in all and there is no sound and nothing without God. The Nature of God is God and the God of Nature is God. The very fabric of creation is God. Without God there is naught. Nada. The via negative further says that if one can name a thing and thing is a thing then it is not God. Hence the "no mind" of Zen and Nada of the mystic of St. John of the Cross. By turning from the dualism of sensation one is left with the One, the creator. It's a matter of perspective.

Another Zen Koan, (Koans being teaching tools, like the Proverbs of the Bible,) goes "Does the Butterfly think the philosopher or the Philosopher think the butterfly?"

This is much like the great philosophical theological debate that ranges through the centuries and goes quite simply , "Did God create man or Man create God." The limits of one's understanding depend solely on which side of that equation one looks out from. Jesus says "if you have ears, you will hear". Obviously you and I have ears.

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