Field of Benefaction
“Every morning we chant, Vast is the robe of liberation, A formless field of benefaction, I wear the Tathagata’s teaching, Saving all sentient beings. As students of Zen, the business we are to study and realize is this vast robe of liberation, which is nothing other than a formless field of benefaction. It has no beginning or end. It is not limited by ideas of boundary or difference. Its nature is formless, and yet, being without form how can it be a field of benefaction? This is the profound teaching of the non-dual dharma, the Middle Way—not clinging to any fixed form which includes any concept of formlessness.”Wearing the Buddha’s Teaching, Dharma Talk by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Transmission of the Light, Case 43,“Liangshan”
In a Baconian/Newtonian world, such a quote is nonsense. However, in an Einsteinian/Bohmian world, the quote is eminently sensible.
I remember, as a Christian, believing that entropy was the ultimate argument against evolution. It made no sense that things would become more orderly and complex over time.
Then I learned that there was a serious caveat regarding entropy: things would disintegrate over time as long as there was no outside source of energy. That little caveat makes evolution completely possible. We do have an outside source of energy. We call it “the sun.” Imagine just how quickly things would fall apart if the sun stopped shining. Entropy would immediately rule. This is just one example of the anti-scientific misinformation I was fed as a Christian.
But, alas, I have moved on to a more interconnected field-oriented view of the universe, completely incompatible with the worldview I was indoctrinated with as a Christian. My Newtonian/Baconian days are over.
I wish to be a field of benefaction for my fellow beings. I work diligently to be of benefit to those I encounter. That is the ultimate human purpose: living the bodhisattva vow.