We deny it’s a thing
That’s a thing. We can’t say it isn’t. Talk and talk and talk. But when it comes to the point, that fist is a thing. We deny it. The denial can go right back into our teeth, perhaps with the teeth with. It’s a thing, gone. One teacher used this in teaching judo. That’s strong enough or to emphasise an argument, but if you want to stir your tea, it’s quite a nuisance. If you want to write, it’s still more of a nuisance. There are people who write like this [holding the pen in a fist], but… If you want to clean your teeth [that way], it’s very difficult.
But it’s very strong as it is. Here, [demonstrating] it’s even stronger. Although it’s so strong in this direction, you can get a very strong man to hold his arm like that. Try and push it back, you haven’t a hope in hell. You just take your little finger. He can’t keep still. Enormously strong here, very weak here. They explain that we specialise in certain things. We get enormously strong in a particular direction with a particular thing and we become that thing.
This has the form – the pointing finger. I’m an accuser. In India, sometimes a man is sitting meditating, an atmosphere of holiness comes from him. People gather around. Finally, he comes out of meditation. He sees them, but doesn’t say anything. [He just holds up one finger], then, he walks away.
It means something, but what does it mean? Does it mean one? All is one? Only one? Or does it mean, whatever you think, whatever you can imagine above that, transcend that, go beyond that. Scratch your eyes out, hand has no form. It has all the capacities of the forms. One of the lessons this is supposed to teach is that in life we specialise in something, some of us become fists. We can’t bear any opposition and there’s another one who becomes, “No.” Before the new suggestion, before the sentence has been completed, “No.”
When that meets that, we freeze and we become these things. And in any skill or in life, we can become a thing. We lose the capacity to adopt flexibly to thread a needle, you can’t thread a needle if you’ve got a fist, or to write. In the vocabulary of some of the arts, this is called the ‘bull’s horns’. You develop a particular faculty like a bull and with these you can gore anything. But they are an awful nuisance if you want to get into a car. You become a bull with your skill – very formidable, triumphant. But all you can do is charge and gore.
So they say one of the first things is to become a hand so that you’re not specialised. And do these other things. When it’s time to thread a needle, you can thread it. When it’s time to write, you can write. There are bulls who write the things, create illusions. We get the illusion that this is me. “I’m like this. This is what I’m good at.” And so the capacity of the hand is lost. The example he gives is of illusory forms and I’ll just give one very brief thing. We have attitudes, habits of which we are entirely unconscious. And to give one example (Oh, and I should say that any examples I may give here, people would never behave like that. So that anything that’s said is purely as an example, any resemblance to any situation of any person living or dead is purely intentional. ) In the old texts, when the Chinese came to Japan, they repeat the phrase, as the Japanese pronounce or read it, ‘Makamoso’ – ‘Don’t have delusive thoughts’. And then the records of the Chinese masters, when they came, they would repeat it, “Makamoso, makamoso.” It was done in phonetic form, but it was a repetition.
And to this day, I only meet Chinese talking English but they tend to repeat. But if you tackle a Chinese on this and you say to him, “In some of the old accounts of Chinese monks coming to Japan, they tended to repeat their phrases. And is this a characteristic of the language, because I’ve noticed that some of you do today?” And he replies, “No, we don’t. No, we don’t.”
Well, this is one example of us.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: Melting the Ice and Fists
Part 2: What is the Buddha?
Part4: We deny it’s a thing