THE NUMINOUS RESERVOIR VII

[A note on voice: I started using the more formal “we” to speak of my opinions while writing “As the Cookie Crumbles” with a view to making things appear less personal. Though I like that it does so, it also seems a bit pretentious and thus I have wavered between “we” and “I”. I’m now going back to “I”, as an admission that these are, after all, just my personal opinions based on my own biases.]

“That is what allows the joy of its harmony to open into all things without losing its fullness, what keeps it flowing on day and night without cease, taking part everywhere as the springtime of each being. Connecting up with This, your mind becomes the site of the life-giving time. This is what it means to keep the innate powers whole” (5:16-17; Ziporyn).

What this passage appears to be telling us is that the celebration of one’s one unique life experience can become a celebration of all life (and being) experiences. In fact, the more one enjoys one’s own self-arising, the more one is able to participate in the joy of every self-arising. We doubtless are immediately concerned that this is some form of egoism, but it is quite the opposite in that our openness to (“opening into”) whatever happens also enables our opening into all others. Again, omnicentrism speaks to this.

Ziporyn capitalizes “This” (shi) so as to link it with its technical usage in the Second Chapter where “this” and “that”, the opposites of subjectivity and objectivity (self/other) and the moral discriminations (right/wrong) that arise from this fundamental dualism, are understood as susceptible to being united to form a oneness. This unity is “This”, the totality of experience including the “something” that is always left out. Embracing the whole of experience enables one’s mind to become “the site of the life-giving time”. In this sense, the Numinous Reservoir is a shared experience. All things are happening together in one great riot of joyous self-arising.

This again brings us back to the logically irreconcilable mutual validity of the One and the Many that omnicentrism suggests.

This passage is an important one because it puts some very specific flesh on the bones of Zhuangzi’s vision of sagacity. Since this is a purely psychological affair, its “truthfulness” lies entirely in the possibility of its being experienced. And that can only be determined when one commits to seeing if it can. But since it remains in the sphere of exploration, it need not require a commitment of belief or hopeful expectation. The advantage of looking for a pot of gold on the other side of the mountain is not in finding it, but in discovering what is actually there.

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