Threefold, Twofold, One-fold, No-fold – Intro

After posting the revised “About Me” section, I looked back at the previous entry “Return to Write.” That entry was posted almost exactly a year ago to the day! Oh my! I returned to write only not to write. Sounds like the Diamond Sutra. For another time.

For now, I want to lay out a puzzle of sorts. I have been interested in this puzzle for a while and I hope to explore it here in some detail. And I hope that others join in as well! For now, I want to lay out a preview of the puzzle.

The background: Buddhist training is a threefold training in morality, meditation, and wisdom.

In Sŏn/Chán/Zen Buddhism, it is often stated that meditation and wisdom are not two. A forceful and persuasive rendering of this identity or denial of two-ness (not the same thing) is found in The Platform Sutra through the function and essence discussion and the lamp and the light metaphor. I think this also goes back to The Awakening of Faith as well, but I will investigate that again for a later post.

So my question is: What about morality?

Seems simple enough, but it gets sticky and tricky, conceptually speaking. It is possible to grasp how meditation and wisdom can be not-two or related as in lamp to light, but that does not leave room for morality, which involves both intra-personal and inter-personal features of mind and body. In other words, the argument or experiences that support the not-two-ness of meditation and wisdom do not support a similar reduction of morality.

But then that leaves us with a two-ness. And that seems to cut against the Sŏn/Chán/Zen pursuit of the realization of non-duality that lurks behind the claims relating meditation and wisdom.

Did the ancestors simply forget about morality?

Enough for now. On your mark, get ready, Threefold, Twofold, One-fold, No-fold, GO!

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