Freely Letting Go

“The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows that he is going to die,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
no illusions in his mind,
no resistances in his body.
He doesn’t think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.
He holds nothing back from life;
therefore he is ready for death,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day’s work.” TaoTe Ching, Chapter 50, Stephen Mitchell translation

 Is this a description of “flow”? “Choiceless awareness”? Or are they the same thing?

If nothing else, it is a description of simplicity. It is precisely this kind of quote that confirms to me that Zen is a combination of Buddhism and Taoism. Dogen himself could have uttered those words.

When one lives by doing what the situation calls for, in an effort to benefit all, ethics do not to be spelled out and codified. They are integral to the actions themselves. The actions are the embodiment of ethical behavior.

This is kenosis at its most practical and profound. I’ve had to live like this at times, like waiting for Barry’s test results. There are no making plans, no ambitions, nor even any hopes. There is just the moment. It feels like a very hard way to live if one is used to always having a goal and point, like I am. It is truly a mini-death. Every cell in my body resists this ideal, even though it is what my spirit desires.



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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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