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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
Don't you like the way this short Zen poem says so much? The spiritual quest is first seen as some sort of construction project, but he doesn't really know what to build or what he's doing so he just digs deeper into the earth -- worldly, material existence -- until he's choked by the experience. It's as if he begins to recognize he's only been digging his own grave, yet even then he doesn't know what else to do.
But insight, that moment of satori or enlightenment, comes almost by accident. "In the dead of night" -- the dark night of the soul when he feels most hopeless and drained, he stumbles and falls. Yet in falling on his back for the first time he is face up and sees the sky. He's stunned and even thought falls away. The sky itself shatters. He pierces through the false sky, which is a construction of his mind -- his thoughts about sky, his concepts and assumptions of all that encompasses his world -- and finally sees clearly sky as it is -- the living, empty spaciousness that overarches and permeates everything.
Earnest seekers labor hard, but the masters seek that strategic stumbling and so see the sky.
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2002 - 2011 by Ivan M. Granger.
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