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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.

Every Day Is a Good Day

Unmon said: " I do not ask you about fifteen days ago. But what about fifteen days hence? Come, say a word about this! " since none of the monks answered. he answered for them; Every day is a good day. "

"Everyday is a good day" is a simple statement, but very few know its real meaning. The "good day" does not refer to a nice day as compared to a bad day. It means the absolute, not the relative, day. Today is the absolute day, the only day in the eternity of time. Today is never repeated. Every day is fresh and new just as one's life is new each day. Every day is a good day, but the good is not of one's own making. It is good in the original, or absolute, sense-rain or shine, war or peace, sickness or health. The past is only reference; the future is only hope. Today is real.