Words of Wisdom

Zen Koans By Gyomay M. Kubose

Transcending Duality
Contemporary Western culture is dualistic; everything is dichotomized into good or bad, right or wrong, friend or enemy, this or that. To dichotomize is to divide , and competition usually follows. It necessitates making constant judgments ( this is right; that is wrong ) that create trouble in society as well as in individual life. If one wishes a life of peace and harmony, duality must be transcended and the world of oneness attained. Oneness does not mean sameness. Each one is unique and absolute. Each one has its own beauty and value and should not be compared. Peace and freedom exist only in the world of oneness, the absolute world. Zen stresses the transcending of duality in the following koans

No Cold and Heat
A monk asked Tozan, “How can we escape the cold and heat?” Tozan replied, “Why not go where there is no cold and heat?” “Is there such a place?” the monk asked. Tozan commented, “When cold, be thoroughly cold; when hot, be hot through and through.

Heat and cold cause discomfort; they represent troubles jn life. When troubles arise, what should
one do? If one can escape, fine. But many of life’s problems cannot be escaped. Where is the place of no trouble? Zen says: Become one with trouble. When the day is hot, don’t cry. “Oh, hot! Oh, hot! What shall I do? Take the heat and be it instead of complaining about or trying to escape it. Whatever it is, if we become totally one with it, we become the master instead of the victim.