In the Zen tradition we learn that when it comes to the big questions such as “What is This reality?” and “Who’s asking?” and “What is the meaning of life?” there are no answers and no way of knowing.
Knowing is considered a delusion of the rational discriminating mind. However, investigating these very questions is essential and indispensable in facing this Great Matter of life and death.
Over years of meditation practice, and great dedication to this investigation, we come to accept with equanimity No Knowing. I think every sage, scientist and philosopher recognizes that any deep question that appears to be answered only leads to ever more profound and unanswerable questions. Regardless, every sage, scientist or philosopher worth their salt, never ceases their perpetual inquiry into the nature of this Great Matter.
I don’t know why we are here. I don’t know why the universe is here. I do recognize that we and the universe itself is miraculous, precious and temporary. Given only this much it becomes imperative to care for our environment and ourselves. As I see it, we are the universe becoming aware of itself! At the very least, it would be foolish to waste this glorious opportunity to explore who we are and what is This?
At a deeper level of investigation, I’ve found that though I can’t arrive at any answers to these deep questions, I can personally, intimately and genuinely feel the interdependence and the underlining flow of this flowering unfolding universe, and with this feeling I can’t help but to make a Great Vow to care for all beings great and small, animate and inanimate.
~Rev. Osho Genjo Marinello
Current Abbot at Seattle Zen Temple
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