To set up what you like against what you dislike

is the disease of the mind.

(Stanza 2)

If the inclination to discriminate between right and wrong is “the disease of the mind”, then humanity has fallen. Humanity is not as it should be. We need to be saved. The Universe likewise needs saving. There is a great rift between what is and what should be. There are Two. The author discriminates.

Satan rebelled and was cast from Heaven. Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lost their innocence, and were cast out of Eden. Brahman sleeps and dreams what isn’t Itself. We need to awaken so that Self can be One again. Universal Mind is shattered and we are meant to merge mind with Mind so as to make ourselves and Mind whole once again. Chaos was destroyed with the arising of self-consciousness. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and needs to be put back together again.

All these cosmic scenarios are the product of the religious mind. Yet the religious mind is precisely what Zen ostensibly wishes to overcome. There is, it seems to me, a huge contradiction here. But of course there is contradiction in everything at some level or another.

Ironically, materialism seems to bring one closer to the threshold of pan-affirmation than does religious-mindedness. But materialism, born of rationalism, manifests as another side of religious-mindedness, close-mindedness.

If discrimination between right and wrong is the disease of the mind, then humanity is itself diseased. But it can be cured—or so Zen tells us. Pan-affirmation, on the other hand, says yes to all things just as they are. This is it. And given our discriminating mind, we have the inclination to either reject or affirm it. To affirm it is to trust in life, to release into Mystery.

All of this can be found right here in the Xin-Xin Ming. “When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way, there is no objection to anything in the world.” (Stanza 10) “If you wish to move in the One Way, do not dislike the worlds of senses and ideas. Indeed, to embrace them fully is identical with true Enlightenment.” (Stanza 14) “When you live this non-separation, all things manifest the One, and nothing is excluded.” (Stanza 20) “Not here, not there—but everywhere always right before your eyes.” (Stanza 21)

This is it. This mind, just as it is, is it. There is disease, and we do well to attempt to cure it. But disease is also not-disease. Nothing is fundamentally diseased—even disease. Having a discriminating mind is not to be diseased. Narrow-mindedly dwelling there is to have a disease, not to be one.

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