[39] Right here it is eternally full and serene (from The Shodoka)

by Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku

English version by Robert Aitken
Original Language Chinese

Right here it is eternally full and serene,
If you search elsewhere, you cannot see it.
You cannot grasp it, you cannot reject it;
In the midst of not gaining,
In that condition you gain it.

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Right here it is eternally full and serene,
If you search elsewhere, you cannot see it.


This is so simple, yet so difficult to accept. What is it we are seeking? Enlightenment? Salvation? Heaven? God? If something is missing, then it must be somewhere else. So we seek out new groups, new teachers, new books, new religions, new lands. Even in our meditation and prayer, we are reaching, reaching out-- for what?

It is almost an insult to our efforts to be told again and again that it is "right here." If it was right here, we would feel it, we would know it. Right?

This makes no sense at all to the seeking mind, yet we each can discover that it is absolutely true: What we seek is right here. Not elsewhere. Not in the future. Right here.

Which begs the question, if it is always at hand, why can't we grasp it? First, it is so difficult for the mind to accept that this thing we seek is not a thing at all. It cannot be grasped or held or claimed. It is not an object outside of ourselves. It is not a thing contained within space, contained within time, contained within concepts. It is not a thing that starts and ends, nor is it here but not there; rather, it is an effulgence of awareness. Even that might suggest to us that it is something within the mind to be coaxed forth, imagining it to be an ephemeral object of the mind, a subset of the self. Such a thing cannot last or transform.

It would be easy to dismiss all of this as elaborate philosophical wordplay were it not for the fact that we are told again and again that solving this riddle unlocks a whole new self and a whole new reality, a reality that is much larger, clearer, blissful, unified, and somehow more true. If we accept even the possibility that enlightenment/heaven/God are not only knowable, but the actual state of reality that clears away the normal state of illusion, then to dismiss such spiritual wordplay is foolish in the extreme.

Since sage voices keep telling us that what we seek (but don't fully understand) is right here and not elsewhere, let us try an experiment: Let us stop imagining another place, another experience. Let us strop trying to imagine what it is we seek at all. If we ache, let us feel it intensely without imagining what will soothe it. Let us, instead, grow quiet, grow still, and let go of all the mind's imaginings. And then let us just see. What do we notice? Not trying to grasp or gain or escape, what do we sense right here? What has been so consistently present that we have always felt but never noticed?

In the midst of not gaining,
In that condition you gain it.


The touch we feel might just surprise us -- right here.



Recommended Books: Hsuan Chueh of Yung Chia / Yoka Genkaku

Buddhism and Zen
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39] Right here it