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Zen Teaching

This aspect of Zen teaching, the existence of the positive in the negative is
difficult for many people to comprehend, especially since it is also taught that
both the positive and the negative (Yang and Yin) co-exist in interactive
interdependency in what is termed the 'Tai Chi' (symbolised by the Yin and Yang
aspects linked together in the two halves of a circle. But even more than this,
it is further taught that the Tai Chi is only a way of conceptualizing the
infinite or absolute which contains 'all that which is, and all that which is
not'. This concept seems to be unique to Taoism and Buddhism, and it is usually
only advanced students who enter 'mondo' (question and answer, or discussion) on
topics such as these, and such matters are not frequently discussed during
normal sesshin. The reason for this (apart from the complexities involved) is
that Zen students arae not encouraged to consider abstract or mystical matters
until they are quite advanced. Such matters as 'the infinite', and 'eternity',
are termed 'the song of the absolute', and we are warned in the precepts,
"Be diligent in your practice,
and on hearing the music of the absolute,
do not be so foolish as to try to sing its song."

This statement is in fact a reference to the difference between experiential
learning (learning through experience) and cognitive learning (learning through
study). In meditation we lose awareness of the ego, and might sthus sometimes
lose awareness of the 'self'. Although this does happen without meditation (and
without Zen) for some people, it is more usual for it to occur in a meditative
state. It is an essential precursor to deep meditation, and to a state or
attitude known as 'kufu' (the technique beyond technique). What the student is
being told in the above precept is that although such states can and do occur,
they are experiential rather than cognitive, which is to say t...

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