White Cloud, Blue Mountain, and Zen

“The blue mountain is the father of the white cloud. The white cloud is the son of the blue mountain. All day long they depend on each other, without becoming dependent on each other. The white cloud is always the white cloud. The blue mountain is always the blue mountain.”

Tozan, translated by Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginners mind.)

While Western thinkers debated through the centuries about  free will and determinism. the Zen mind found in him self  a fluid process, a relatively self autonomous being yet still interconnected to and affect by the otherness around him, embedded in his present circumstance. Always influencing and being influenced by ‘otherness” of  his world  still He is He.
A subject is a subject and his/her otherness is otherness, Yet they interconnected while being neither completely independent or dependent.

The organism and the field
breather and air
the teacher and the student
The husband and Wife.
Figure and Ground
“Heaven” and “Earth”

In a moment of  Zazen meditation one may  experience a sense of complete independence and dependence… a sense of freedom and singularity. Alluding to a metaphor of  Zusuki: one’s breathing is the swinging door between.

When one is  himself, he is at the center of is world, moment to moment he lives both relatively independent and dependent of the world. When living his active daily life that “swinging door” is often described as “Contact“.
Contact is the meeting of differences, a permeable boundary between two, a doorway to be mindful of.  Contact is also interdependence and difference, where two influence each other. From the first person point of  view, Contact is the swinging door between self (as subject) and other. When we meditate contact happens with  breathing.

In  Zen thought, one may be mindful of circumstances of when two are in opposition or when when two move together in the advantage of their harmony. One witness his  influence on his world and his worlds influence on him.  One recognize his autonomy and the world that is its own means.

video posted by Emptymindfilms.

We live in a series of “nows” one immediately after the other. Circumstances always change. The white cloud is always changing.The white cloud is always the white cloud. The Blue Mountain is always the Blue Mountain.


About chris
I write because I'm not good at it. I share because, writing without sharing seems empty. Thus, I write and share what I think is meaningful.

9 Responses to White Cloud, Blue Mountain, and Zen

  1. Joss says:

    beautiful. wise. healing.
    walk in beauty.

  2. crayzys says:

    Thank you. Yes. The duality can reach a restive state.

  3. chris says:

    I had to fix a mistake in the post:
    . The Koan above is a translation of Tozan, by Shunryu Suzuki
    not D.T. Suzuki.Its quoted from the manual “Zen mind, Beginners Mind”.

  4. I dislike the division into western/ eastern who mostly ends in favour of a pretend better Asian way . Are you aware of pre Socratic philosophy or the rigidity of certain Zen structures, when you jump so easy into this comparison?

  5. chris says:

    thank you for you comment antiphonsgarden,
    No I am unaware of pre Socratic philosophy and I not trained in any sort of academic philosophy.

    The contrast above between East and West above is particularly to introduce the fluidity in Zen’s Buddhist philosophy: that may be not be obvious to a westerner thinker. There is no real comparison, and you can practice, a variety of Western Philosophies and Eastern together.

    Later Eastern Philosophers like, Watsuji Tetsurô, who combined Buddhist and European Continental Philosophy place emphasis on “Between-ness” of the individual and his culture or his surroundings. Western Humanistic Psychologists have constantly referenced Tao and Buddhism, and many Buddhist incorporate Hegel, Husserl and /or Heidegger. So its not really a matter of a better Asian way.
    I apologize if my post is misleading

    I do not understand what you mean by “Zen structures”….

  6. I make a difference between zen as an awareness, catching the zest of the moment, and Zen as the ritualised sense avoidance which considers that a hierarchical structured clergy has privileges in obtaining satori’s.

    The more I have rediscover the concepts of the pre-Socratics, the more I have understand that we have lost time, following the dualism of Plato, and what we consider as new these days, has been thought already a long time ago, but discredited and even destroyed by those who saw the society changing potential in those thoughts. The amount of sidelined philosophers who are nearer to us, is amazing in all society’s, and it is not surprising that some rigid systems are in favour of Confucius over the Taoists.

  7. Pingback: Gestalt Definition « Pennsylvania Echoes

  8. chris says:

    Reblogged this on Pennsylvania Echoes and commented:

    from Shunryu Suzuki {Zen Mind, Beginners mind} — forward & still ~

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