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†† Gary Schouborg, PhD

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Schouborg, Gary (2004).

"Life and Death"

 

 

Life and Death

 

Gary Schouborg, PhD

 

 

The light is briefly on,

Then gone forever.

Iím filled with panic

— thatís ego.

 

The light is on.

Iím filled with gratitude

— thatís non-ego.

 

The light is briefly on,

Then gone forever.

Iím filled with gratitude

— thatís non-ego illuminating ego

 

1st stanza: Mountains are mountains, trees are trees, rocks are rocks.

Buddhist gloss: the light (consciousness) being briefly on and its being gone forever are thoughts, which are ego-functions; the notion that the light is gone forever implies gone from something; that something is self; so Iím imagining that when the light goes out, I continue on forever in darkness; naturally, I panic.

Christian gloss: I address panic with a counter thought, a belief that Jesus will restore the light to me after death; the thoughts, the panic, and the belief to counter the panic are all ego-functions.

 

2nd stanza: There are no mountains, trees, rocks.

Buddhist gloss: I let go of the thoughts that the light (consciousness) is on briefly and then goes away (I let go of ego functions); Iím left only with light; gratitude, satisfaction, peace emerges (non-ego consciousness).

Christian gloss: I move from belief (ego function) to faith (non-ego consciousness); I open myself to faith by humbly acknowledging that I understand and know nothing (I let go of my beliefs, which are ego functions); letting go is neither denying nor doubting my beliefs, but merely not identifying with them, not engaging them; in faith I find a surpassing peace.

 

3rd stanza: Mountains are mountains, trees are trees, rocks are rocks.

Buddhist gloss: that the light is briefly on and then gone forever are thoughts, which are ego-functions; but I no longer identify with them; I now experience them within the perspective of non-ego consciousness; since I know the light to be ephemeral like everything else, I feel at home.

Christian gloss: faith (non-ego consciousness) makes me at home in a reality that I can never comprehend (ego function); my belief that Jesus will restore the light to me after I die morphs into a faith wherein I find satisfaction in living whatever the truth of eternal life.

 

With apolgies to Ch'ing-yŁan Wei-hsin (Seigen Ishin): ďBefore I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.Ē (The Way of Zen 220 k)