A. ‘Zen opposes dualistic thinking’ is a popular phrase in Zen meditation, which, if interpreted literally, can be highly likely to be misleading. How would it be possible to sustain our lives and our societies without dualistic thinking?
Zen doesn’t forbid us from having dualistic thoughts but discourages us from being attached to them through the realisation that everything, in essence, is neutral and that our dualistic thoughts are not immutable truth but just empty imaginary lines. This is referred to as wise dualistic thinking, or wise preference. An ancient master said to his students who were planting vegetables, “You are allowed to plant as many vegetables as you want, but you should not let them take root.”
Student: “How can I keep them from taking root?”
Master: “Plant them where there is neither day nor night.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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