"Emptiness radically rejects the substantiality of any beings—
persons and things alike.

Emptiness may appear static, abstract or one-dimensional.
Yet in reality it is not neutral, vacuous or value free.
Emptiness is dyanmic, concrete and preeminently present
in relation to weighing dependent origination/worldly truth.

In olden days, people used a steelyard, or a portable
unequal-arm balance, to measure the weight of an object.
The shorter arm has a hook or pan for holding the object
to be weighed and the longer one has a scale and mov
able counterpoint for obtaining the weight of the object.
The steelyard is suspended at the point where these two
portions, or arms, of the beam meet...

...In a broader context, then, the beam with unequal arms,
the object to be weighed, the counterpoise moving
along the scale, the person who weighs, the force of gravity
operative in the physics of the steelyard, and the rest—
all work directly in concert with one another, in accordance
with dependent origination to attain equilibrium, fairness,
and reasonableness in commercial transactions.

Dogen's expression ku ni kakareri means at once
"hanging in empty space" and "hanging in emptiness."

"Hanging" in the present case draws on the fact that
the steelyard, when in use, is suspended from the
hand of the one who weighs.
By extension, the object to be weighed,
the person who weighs, the steelyard,
and its functioning are all suspended in the air, in emptiness.

Excerpted by permission from Dogen On Thinking And Meditation: Reflections On His View of Zen by Hee-jin Kim

The singular liberating momentum of integral knowing as the power of emptiness, has as its form the mysterious, ambiguous, and bottomlessly elusive koan of practice-realization. Through the great principle of the steelyard, the concurrent and reciprocal koan of practice-realization—words and letters and the universe, birth and death, elusion and enlightenment, thinking and meditation— is weighed for equilibrium and fairness. Ultimately, the koan's vast and giddy radical reason is penetrated by the power of emptiness.

 

 


richard stodart d r e a m m a k i n g

The Steelyard 2005 acrylic on paper 22.5" x 30"