Archives for posts with tag: TanZo

It is said, among certain Marks within the ZirCong, that “the universe has already occurred: it has completed its cycle, and returned to the void. Therefore, why hurry in our lives? They ended, long, long ago”.

If it is true, and the book of this world is already complete, how can we know whether we are near the beginning, or the middle, or the end of the text?

Since the rise of the RoMayZine and SurGaKu dynasties, and the retreat of the ZirCong from influence over terrestrial power, TanZo has put away all such theories of completed days and events already concluded. For the TanZo of these present times, it is considered a deviation from the Way to speculate overmuch upon events yet to transpire, or to sacrifice the present to a possible world to come.

Huddled in their great Metallic mansions, though, the houses of the ZirCong, their ancient bloodlines woven by ShoKun, the Mark of the Hatching Egg, do they still cleave to those old, discredited beliefs? And if so, has their power over the dusts of the mind permitted them some sense of a world to come, yet already over? Down what cerebral corridors may they move, inside what rooms may they sit and listen, straining to hear some faint echoes of futurity?

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It was a book called The Three Attitudes. In it, the woman, an educated traveller, fascinated by the differences among the three main divisions of ShiO — ZirCong, RoMayZine and SurGaKu – organised her observations of the people of the ShiO clans who, within fifty years, had started the war that would unify the whole world of O.


ATTITUDE TO THE BODY

ZirCong | Famously enigmatic, the ZirCong seem to consider the world neither ideal nor material, but in an unresolved state, or in a state that is constantly resolving towards both flesh and idea. They despise the “world of dust”, and strive for the Dustless condition. When they speak of the body, therefore, they speak of an illusion, a “thing of dust”. Even the mind, viewed from an unilluminated perspective, is to the ZirCong a thing of dust, an illusion. It is said that they do not feel pain — or, if pain is felt, they are not ZirCong. Their bodies do not belong to them: they have cast them aside.

To the ZirCong, as with all ShiO Marks, the MarIsQuess — the “building without motion”, or the “still building”, or, more simply, “the Building” — is the state or condition reached by meditation, with each ShiO division using meditation techniques peculiar to their own culture. The ZirCong use their celebrated, mysterious “Starless Darkness” techniques to achieve MarIsQuess. This is not a state ordinary people can attain. True ZirCong are said never to leave the Building, but always to dwell within it. Suspicious of language and of the “traps of definition”, the ZirCong insist that the Building can’t be described, but must be experienced. The Building must be built, through hours, days, years of arduous meditation. In this process of building, the weak eliminate themselves, as lacking the spiritual purity to maintain their path upon the Way. The foolish, the braggarts, the impatient, the greedy, all of these types of soul can never, without change, erect the Building within themselves, but must languish and perish, stranded in “the world of dust and donkeys”.

This constant striving to found and construct the Building within themselves has made the ZirCong admired, revered, feared and, by many, hated. One informal document, which has been publicly circulated, details the ZirCong attitude as follows:

What the common people call “body” and “mind”, these are merely pathways to the Building. They are gates of dust, leading to the Dustless state. Once inside the Building, all outside and inside ceases. New relations are inaugurated: all the old buildings and languages of dust, though they continue to float in the void, and are used by the common people as the limits of their world, for the Dustless one, are errors of matter and thought, imperfect perception, the toys of innocent children. People will live and die, will age and grow sick, just as they have always done — only, if you dwell in the Building, then living and dying, aging and sickening, these are changed, and their meanings are changed. The laws of sickness, the laws of age, of living, and dying, do not apply to true ZirCong. Life, death, tall, short, weak, strong, body, mind, above, below, finitude, infinity, moments, eternity, these are all categories of a diseased and limited vision: the perfect and entire vision of the Dustless ensures serenity, even as the sword goes through you, or the cancer grips. A healthy body and a diseased body are, within the Building, the same thing: an arrangement of dust.

RoMayZine | For the RoMayZine, the body is a source of struggle, the flesh is a piece of dust that may be caught hold of, polished, sharpened, hardened, quickened, improved. Men and women, both, are encouraged to exercise and to work their bodies until they are the perfect instruments of war. Both sexes swim, box, run, vault, lift weights, perform intricate ritual dances, practise with sword, bow, spear, lance, axe, they are keen horsemen, and work endlessly on their balance and speed of reaction.

There is a RoMayZine saying: The eyes for the arrow, the arms for the sword, the hands for fists, the legs for running.

For the RoMayZine, the body is very important in their philosophy. They adore action: they love to train their bodies and spirits until they are exhausted, and then they feel a tremendous peace. When they are in movement, they are irresistible; and when they are at rest, they seem sated, complete.

Life, on all levels, is a battle for them. Their Way is through action. It is not uncommon to see lords or ladies of RoMayZine clans with facial bruises, scars, misaligned bones, missing teeth.

They are warrior clans. Obviously, during war they are much sought-after as allies. In peace, their company is perhaps less pursued. It is said, among the houses of ZonO – “Society” – that when matrimonial alliances are made, then if you are not from a RoMayZine clan, but marry a RoMayZine partner, then there is often trepidation and anticipation regarding coitus. As lovers, both men and women of RoMayZine culture, are considered unsubtle, crude, demanding. A RoMayZine woman, with her strongly defined musculature and powerful limbs, is usually physically much stronger than most SurGaKu men. ZonO consider RoMayZine men as, frankly, brutes.

Love of the body is love of the Way, the RoMayZine believe. Enjoy the body, and make it do your will. But do not become obsessed with it. At the right moment, throw it away. Nothing is better than dying in battle. At such a moment, the tree both flowers and fruits: where the fruit falls, no one can say.

SurGaKu | A subtle and educated woman of ZonO explained to me that the divisions of ShiO can be broken down, very roughly, into three qualities: ZirCong, wisdom; RoMayZine, action; SurGaKu, beauty.

It is said that the SurGaKu, so concerned with beauty, find the body troubling. The SurGaKu TanZo is the effort to render the world beautiful through meditation and the practice of various forms of art. They are highly conscious of the passage of time, and of the mutability of all things. The moment has pitched its tent at the heart of every particle of dust, the SurGaKu explain, but the tent is empty.

Put simply, while the ZirCong deny the body any effective reality, and the RoMayZine treat the body with a kind of rude pragmatism, the SurGaKu are perplexed and uneasy with their bodies. They are more prone to romance, to melancholy, to dolour. They have purified their sensibilities so that they are sensitive to tiny nuances in the human and the natural world. Conscious that all pleasure and pain is fleeting, their TanZo is haunted by loss. Loss, though, is beautiful: it is the necessary condition for the existence of the world.

Their poetry, songs, prints, paintings, all celebrate the power of the ephemeral. The body, then, is a point of sensitivity, of vulnerability, of delicacy, to the SurGaKu. They know that bodies are fragile, can sicken, can break. They admit the tidal powers of sexual desire, the sweep and sway of it. Ironically, although in many ways the most refined of the three divisions of ShiO, the SurGaKu are in some ways the most fleshly, the most prone to lapse and delirium. They value tenderness and restraint, gentleness, patience, yet can be the most explosively ill-disciplined of all ShiO.

A SurGaKu love poem, from the Era of Storms, goes:

Between the room of parturition,
and the Temple of Ashes,
between the bleeding at birth,
the fire coming to death,
my body has swung, moment by moment,
like pearl beads strung
upon a wire, made into a necklace.

That necklace, my love, you wear.
Lying on your breast, my head
rises and falls,
in time with your breathing:
at sea, the waves also rise and fall,
and beneath the surface
on the shadowed bed
young pearls are forming.


Re-post

It was a book called The Three Attitudes. In it, the woman, an educated traveller, fascinated by the differences among the three main divisions of ShiO — ZirCong, RoMayZine and SurGaKu – organised her observations of the people of the ShiO clans who, within fifty years, had started the war that would unify the whole world of O.


ATTITUDE TO PAIN

ZirCong | A pure person feels no pain. What is called “pain” among the common people, and people of flawed purity, is a sign of immaturity and a clinging to the body, which is to cling to dust and to sensations of dust. Although TanZo (“the Way”) is in all things, not all things are in TanZo. To feel pain is selfish, and to be selfish means you have not achieved true illumination. A Dustless person will feel neither the pain belonging to him or to her, nor the pain belonging to others. Pain is useful, as others — the impure — feel pain, and can be reached through pain and through the cessation of pain. All sensation is dust, leading to the void. Pain is dust, leading to the void. Pain is a false understanding of the world. Those who feel pain go towards the void. Achieve purity, true illumination, and there will be no pain. A Dustless person can walk among the sufferings of the damned in barbarian hells, and be unmoved; similarly, a Dustless person can walk among the blisses of the blessed in barbarian heavens, and be unmoved. Hells and heavens belong to the dust: to be truly ZirCong, one must be Dustless.

RoMayZine | Pain is real, a sign of life and of TanZo. Life is battle, and incurs pain. A woman gives birth through pain, and overcomes hardships in order to bring a child into the world. There is thus pain at the very gates of life. It cannot be avoided. But the RoMayZine spirit is never to retreat: where pain is inevitable, it is to be welcomed, as a means to prove one’s purity. The purity of the RoMayZine, the RoMayZine TanZo, is in a great, a warlike spirit. To be alive, one must fight a spiritual battle: nothing else matters. Pain is not to be inflicted needlessly, or received needlessly, but a RoMayZine will never run from pain. To fight through pain, and to win, or to lose, without wavering in one’s spirit: that is RoMayZine.

SurGaKu | Life is one event. The SurGaKu TanZo is through beauty, through appreciation of the world of natural things and through the world of things made by men and by women. Pain is an inevitable part of life, unless one is Dustless. If one is in pain, make it beautiful, do not bow before it and turn ugly, grow weak, become full of dirt and dust. Remain pure. The giving and taking of pain is to be avoided: it is not TanZo, the desire for power of one over another is a sign of weakness, a sign of impurity. Bullying, use of force, malice, the desire for triumph over others, this is not TanZo, and is a disgrace to the Way. At the pure core of all things, there is emptiness, the Dustless state: at the pure core of all life, there is nothing, there is no dust, it is a state beyond peace or war, beyond pleasure or pain, for there is no one to commit acts, no one to receive acts. Few, though, become Dustless: a handful, among billions. For the rest, there is striving through TanZo. It is idle to consider pain an easy or a pleasant thing: but to confront and survive pain, the best course of action is to become TanZo, to show courage and not to dwell too much in the illusion of the present, where painful things must befall all of us. Life is one event: that event is not here, or there, not now, or then. The Way is beauty: make your Way beautiful.

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We walked by the SilOso
on the fire side of the city
among the market crowds
near the Bridge of Dreams.

It was cold, and the first snow fell
among our footsteps.
Winter snow falling, and footsteps falling
slowly, by the Bridge of Dreams.

Thoughts, and the memories of thoughts.
Boats, and the reflections of boats –
the empty boats, tied up beside
the SilOso, rocking in a gentle breeze.

What is the fall of snowflakes?
We parted, as winter came.
You went to your home
across the Bridge of Dreams.

Your home, on the side of ice.
My home, on the side of fire.
And the snowflakes of winter falling,
and footsteps, in between.


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 26 Master Darkness [vi]

Be Dustless | Master darkness…

Dustless | Volume 9

I have no home and no need of one
(and the breeze blows softly).
I have a lover, yet I am alone,
here in this room overlooking the water
in a town without a name.

It’s hot now, and the summer’s been long,
but you can feel the autumn coming.
The summer dies upon the stem
like flowers, and the dragonflies with them.

The light has been a great light,
and the sun has burned my arms.
I know little, and want to know no more,
but am content to write my words
rough and useless though they are.
I know little, but must know some more,
though I have already learned all there is to know.
Love? – well, it’s just like money and time:
there’s never quite enough.

Enough –
there’s never quite enough.

The wind blows softly, what else can it do?
There were bees among the wisteria
and the blossoms hung like empty grapes.
I am a lover, yet I am alone,
here in this room overlooking the river
in a town without a name.

She lies naked and her back is so beautiful,
strong, but who can carry time?
It’s hot now, these are summer’s last days,
drought has left the fields all dust,
and burned the flowers on their stems
and my words with the flowers,
and dragonflies…

A white butterfly dead beside
the statue of a saint
gold, and peaceful in meditation:
a white butterfly, with grey-spotted wings
on a wooden floor, beside a man
made of wood, sitting in zamen:
the insect and the saint
rest in the empty morning light,
made of the same stuff…

But Love? – well, it’s just like money and time:
there’s never quite enough.

Enough –
there’s never quite enough…


Excerpt from Mask [ii], Volume 10 of Dustless

Please lose yourself in…

Dustless | Volume 9

The Way is the pure Way, the Way of compassion and of men and women being together for the sake of men and women, who are the Way of the Way * The Way is the Way of human mind, and of the serenity of mind…

Although all things move upon the Way, for human beings, who are the Way of love and compassion • the Way should be simple and straight * To guide confused men and women, there is this book, and this law, and this law guards over the Way * If men and women maintain and honour the law, those men and women will inevitably find themselves upon a Way which is simple and straight * However, should a person neglect or dishonour the law, that person will inevitably find themselves upon a Way which is complex and crooked * To describe these men and women who neglect or dishonour the Way, we speak of “deviation”…

Deviation is to be guarded against at all times * Good conduct depends upon good principles • and the best safeguard of good principles is purity of mind * Purity of mind will ensure purity of action * Even if one’s mind is impure, and one remains unilluminated, providing one follows the rules of good conduct, then the Way will be maintained, and the consequences of one’s actions will be pure * But if one neglects to follow the rules of good conduct, then the Way will be neglected, and the consequences of one’s actions will be impure…

Do not make the error of believing there are large things and little things * or actions of great consequence and actions of no consequence * All actions are actions of the Way • and upon each and every action, the meaning of the world depends… Remember, upon each action depends the whole meaning of the whole world… For action is also the world…

It is the easiest thing in the world to deviate from the pure Way * It is a glance, a yawn, a moment of inattention * It is the easiest thing in the world • to break a world * But it is hard, once you have left the Way, to return * And meanwhile, you will have broken a world, which will be a world of other people * It is one thing to break your own world • but quite another to break the world of other people * It is the easiest thing in the world • to break a world * But what will you do when you have broken the world? * You will find, it is not so easy to live at peace then * How do you live in a world which is broken?…

If you pursue the Way, and remain vigilant, you will maintain the Way | which is the Way of gentleness and non-engagement * You will abstain from self * This means, you will abstain from actions that depend upon the erroneous belief in a creature you call your self | This false creature, this creature you call your self, supposedly possesses the quality of standing apart from, and superior to, the world * This erroneous belief in the creature of self | and the erroneous ascription of powers to this creature | is the root of all impure thought and of deviation from the simple Way * Therefore, wise men and women of the Way | abstain from thinking of themselves as creatures of power | standing apart from the world, with interests separate from, and superior to, the world

Consider: your heart is not your own | Your heart is inside you, but can you reach your heart? | If your heart sickens, with damaged blood or limping beats, what can you do? | You may not reach in and take out that sickened heart | or replace it with another heart | for you depend upon your own heart | and may not escape it * Is this not true? * Are you separate from your own heart? | Are you stronger than its beating? | Consider: you are clad in air | Air surrounds you, and holds you intact, giving shape to your body | permitting you life * Are you stronger than your body? * Are you separate from your own flesh? * Is this not true? * Air surrounds you, and is necessary to all human beings * You hang to a thread of air every moment of your life * Are you stronger than the air? * Are you separate from your own breath? * In the stillness of meditation, in the stillness of the Building which has no motion, in this stillness you will find that you are not a creature of power | but a cloud moving through space | a spider in a sparkling web of mist | or a stream which must flow…

One should at all times strive to purify the mind of impurity: of the poor habits of anger, jealousy, hatred, all habits which deviate from the pure Way and lead to loss of care and of compassion * The Way is the Way of respect for other creatures… People of the pure Way abstain, above all, from physical violence * Violence is a catastrophic loss of respect for oneself and for others * Violence is a mistaken belief in oneself and a mistaken perception of others * A person who is violent spreads chaos and ruin through the cascade, polluting the ancestral stream of events * To harm another person is to harm the world * Even to think of harm depletes the world | for cruel thoughts are cruel, and demean people of the pure Way, who are the Way * If, at any moment, one is thinking an ugly thought, then that ugliness is in the world, and the world is reduced by one ugly thought * But if, at any moment, one is thinking a gentle thought, then that gentleness is in the world, and the world is enlightened by one gentle thought * Therefore, human beings should strive at all times to be vigilant over their thoughts | for a thought is a lever upon the whole world…


Please, follow the Way of Dustless…

Dustless | Volume 1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
India | Dustless | Volume 1
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

There will be days of disaster, and these will pass. There will be days of beauty, and these will pass. There will be many days; they will all pass. Disaster and beauty of the day, the day itself, these are the Way. All things are moving on the Way. For the Subtle one, even the Way moves upon the Way. And the Way is still.


From Dustless, Volume 15 | For Pride in their Flight


Be Dustless…

Dustless | Volume 9

‘What is this dust, Akzasosan?’ Berensota asked, gazing up at his friend again, his voice open, almost pleading. ‘Why is there always dust? It is relentless. Once, I spent two months alone, without servants, in a villa belonging to the clan, in the high country of Ezu, among the Fu’unsi Alps, beyond the Gates of Deer. It is a small house. It is very quiet there, isolated from other villas and from villages. And the air is clear there – pure, as if it has just been made…’
12345Berensota tilted his head, and examined his sword hilt from another angle, his oily hair sliding across the side of his face, glittering slightly in the light from the lantern above him.
12345‘I was a ninth-chen lord, and wore the Gram of the Black of Eclipsed Suns – no, really!’ He made a brief, faintly embarrassed face, as if admitting it must be difficult to believe he had ever achieved such a high grade of purity. Then his memory claimed him again. ‘I was preparing for the days of deep meditation, in readiness to attempt illumination, and to achieve the blesséd Rank of the Subtle… You will understand how clarified I already felt: I had been training for years. I had memorised the entire Metal Books of War, and practised the style of zamen perfected by my ancestors, sometimes for ten or eleven hours a day… I felt very strong, Akzasosan.
12345Anyway, I retreated, temporarily, from public life. I read the sutras, and meditated, walked and sat, watching the day and watching the night. For that whole two months, I rarely saw another human being, and then only at distance, as they made their way along a mountain pass, or walked across the alpine meadows there. Supplies were brought to me, by arrangement, from the nearest village, but the villagers came and went without conversation, leaving packages by the door. The villagers understood the purpose of my retreat, and knew I was on holy business. I went into myself. Into the Building…
12345I was not attempting to achieve illumination then and there: for that, I wished to be among my cousins, and with my masters, instructors, my family, my Mark. Yet, I felt illumination was imminent. I felt the transcendent condition, like a seed, deep inside me. My movements were light and my thoughts occurred naturally, without division. Some traditions speak of illumination as the superstate: the state beyond states – and I sensed such an unthinkable condition as being close and possible for me. I would experience the death of the self. I would be illuminated. When I moved, the universe moved; and when I was still, the universe grew motionless. I didn’t seem to require any motive power to walk or stand: there was just a floating sensation. Among the RoMayZine, we say: Grammar grows obsolete; and we mean, that grammar, being dark, can no longer deal with the world as it is when illuminated. Even to speak of “I” is foolish. “I”, “it”, “this”, “that”… All foolish, all dark. But, for me then, I sensed grammar growing obsolete. I was entering the place where lightning is slow, and where brightness is black. I felt beautiful.
12345And then I noticed the dust.’


Excerpt from Dustless | Volume 13 | River Direction

Notes:
Chen is a measure of spiritual purity. There are ten grades of chen, and each grade is denoted by a colour. Berensota wears the ninth-chen Gram of the Black of Eclipsed Suns. He is in training to reach the highest state of spiritual purity, which, if he achieves it, will permit him to wear the tenth-chen Gram of the White of Drifting Clouds. He will be considered illuminated, a person of visionary powers, and will be promoted from Fine to Subtle Rank.

Zamen is both the product and the state of meditation. People sit in zamen, and enter the Building – the Building Without Motion, the MarIsQuess – which is an enigmatic state, giving masters of the Building celestial powers.

A Mark is a grouping of noble clans. Clans gather under certain Marks – the Shepherd Mark, for example, or the Empty Barrel Mark. Clans of mutual affinity assemble in order to develop their own culture and to trade and support each other.

The RoMayZine is a tradition. Clans who follow the RoMayZine are warrior clans, who place special emphasis on studying and embodying the ancient wisdom of the sutras of the RoMayZuthZine, the Metal Books of War.

Amazon Kindle Store:
UK | Dustless | Volume 1
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India | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

Please explore…

Dustless | Volume 1

Who is the young one there?
A figure in silks hooded, veiled
beside her house?

I love the world in winter:
the land frozen, and the steadfast ice.
But who is the young one there,
shaking loose snowflakes from his parasol?

Of the two of us, who is the true lover? The one
who yearns for the white stillness
of pure winter?
Or the one who,
green and quickening,
is faithless with a growing change?

Who is the lover in the snow?


Towards the end of an English summer. When the days begin to shorten, and there is less time on the bike (your shadow 10 metres long on the path through the country, with the sun going down behind you): so, with autumn and winter, writing begins to loom larger again. But still, in the heat, now, there is snow, written perhaps 10 years or more ago.

Re-post

[from Dustless | Volume 16 / The Lover in the Snow [i]

Unless all is known, nothing is known:

Volume 1 | The Sentinels

•DUSTLESS-FIN1

Dustless | Volume 1 is approximately 20 pp./a5

status | published 11 02 2013

Amazon Kindle Store:
UK | Dustless | Volume 1  |||–––––|||  US | Dustless | Volume 1

ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) | B00BEZL4ZU

A distinguished lord asked:

How does one commence a great venture?

The young monk replied:

By leaving off small ventures, and middling ventures, and by putting aside nothing.

The lord answered:

Perhaps a small venture may lead to a great venture?

The young monk smiled.

Yes, that’s so. And perhaps a great venture may lead to a small venture, or to nothing.

The lord nodded, and scratched at his beard, and reflected on the monk’s words. After a while, the lord grinned, and asked:

Perhaps by doing nothing, it may lead to a great venture?

The young monk smiled again:

Perhaps doing nothing is the greatest venture of all

he said.


You are invited to begin upon a great venture…

Dustless | Volume 1

Re-posted | Original posting, March 2013