Quora answer: Why did Buddha and his followers beg for food rather than spend time earning money?

It is very interesting that the Zen monk and Taoist Stonehouse in his poetry criticizes monks for begging, and as a hermit prides himself on the fact that he lives from the work of his own hands as a hermit. It is interesting that this criticism comes from someone who actively was exploring the interface between Zen Buddhism and Taoism in his practice.

I have found his poetry fascinating. I think it is the most amazing poetry I have read. What I think is most amazing about it is that on page 151 or so of the translation by Red Pine there is a line of emptiness then a line of void then a line of emptiness and a line of void. I have never seen anyone do such a thing before. Normally Taoism (void) and Zen Buddhism (emptiness) are not embodied in the same work.

I have looked carefully in vain for some indication that Stonehouse understood the deeper nonduality beyond and before and after the distinction between emptiness and void. He seems to hold them together but separate, and thus has a suprarational view of them, i.e. they do not mix as they did in early Chinese understanding of Buddhism which interpreted as being the same as Taoism. In some ways this is the preparation for DzogChen which identifies the source prior to the distinction between the two truths and thus does not distinguish Buddhism from Bon (Taoism). But in other ways since it is a suprarational view of both together yet non-mixed it can be seen as a higher state which is suprarational holding together yet apart two different nonduals and showing how they can be interleaved without mixing them.

This is a stunning intellectual feat which an only bring awe to the beholder.




Posted February 20, 2011 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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