a thought: keeping your levels straight

Thought for the day: when dealing with philosophy or spirituality, you have to keep your operational levels straight. It is true, as every spiritual teacher will confirm, that on the deepest level you and I are the same, we are one; but if I go into a bank and say that I'm you, we call that identity theft.

There's a famous Zen story:

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"

One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."

"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."

(Do you suppose a proper Zen answer would have been to go pick up the stone, bring it over, drop it on Hogen's foot, and then ask him if the stone was inside or outside of mind?)

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