Ummon’s “Everybody Has His Own Light”
Ummon spoke to his assembly and said,
“Everybody has his own light. If he tries to see it,
everything is darkness. What is everybody’s light?”
Later, in place of the disciples, he said,
“The halls and the gate.”
And again he said,
“Blessing things cannot be better than nothing.”
It illuminates itself, absolutely bright.
He gives a clue to the secret.
Flowers have fallen, trees give no shade;
Who does not see, if he looks?
Seeing is non-seeing, non-seeing is seeing.
Facing backward on the ox,
He rides into the Buddha Hall.
Does everyone have their own separate light?
I can see that in the physical world it is light that shows us the distinction between two people, and that in darkness, definitions and distinctions are seemingly obliterated.
But it seems to me it must be just the opposite in the metaphysical world – that in darkness or ignorance we have the illusion of separateness, while enlightenment brings the awareness that one is not separate from everyone and everything around one.
What is your comment?
The second question:
Feeling myself full of light sometimes, trembling with energy at other times, the mind is happy to grasp hold of these experiences as “something” – after all, it is said, “Something is better than nothing.”
Yet when those moments of nothing are there – when there is no cognition of who I am or who you are, when there are no exotic happenings – that is what the mind can make no sense of: I only know that that space is, and that nothing is better than something.
And the third question:
I seem to imagine that if I am not thinking something, doing something, involved in some project or other, I am as good as dead; to participate in life seems to me to be life itself.
But as long as I am doing, I recreate myself continuously, don’t I? – when the whole point is to die to oneself.
What is your comment?
Ummon’s comment about everybody’s inner light is absolutely true. Everybody has his own light. But it is true only as far as we are talking about it, as far as it is only a concept. Once it becomes your experience, everything dissolves, including you. Then there is light, oceanic light, in which everyone has dissolved like dewdrops.