All the Objects of the Senses Interact

‘Wondrous! Marvelous!
The teachings of the insentient are inconceivable.
If you listen with the ears, you won’t understand.
When you hear with the eyes, then you will know.’

Tozan’s enlightenment poem is really talking about something else, but it came to mind when I read this recent article in the New Yorker, mainly from this line: ‘What is seeing, after all, if your tongue can do it?’  If you follow links on the ideas page regularly, you will know I am a sucker for articles about the brain and our limited, if burgeoning understanding of it (while I was reading the article I thought of some of the typical analogies invoked to convey the length of a kalpa as appropriate for how far we have to go to reach full anything like a full understanding of the workings of the mind).

The title of the post, in case you don’t recognise it, is from the Harmony of Difference and Equality, and again, is really talking about something else, but the fundamental point is the interconnectedness of everything. As Shohaku’s translation has it:

Each sense and every field
Interact and do not interact;
When interacting they also merge –
Otherwise, they remain in their own states.

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