T’aego’s Awakening


There is something bright and clear, without falsity, without biases, tranquil and unmoving, possessed of vast consciousness, fundamentally without birth and death and discrimination, without names and forms and words. It engulfs space and covers all of heaven and earth, all of form and sound, and is equipped to function. This one thing is always with each and every person. Whether you move or not, whenever you encounter circumstances and objects, it is always very obvious and clear, clear everywhere, revealed in everything. It is quietly shining in all activities. As an expedient, it is called Mind. It is also called the Path, and the king of the myriad dharmas, and Buddha. Buddha said that whether walking, sitting or lying down, we are always within it.
— T’aego (a Korean Zen master from the 1300s)

This passage resonates with me. I think many, like myself, are “cursed” to have a mystical bent. For those of us with this “mental defect”, our Atheism always feels a little compromised. But the mystical side of our ourselves is comfortable with this compromise because it is our very nature.  We each have our own perceptions, but what we choose to do with our perception is what defines us !
Note:  The circle is from the famous Zen Oxherder Series (here, here, here)


Filed under Consciousness, Philosophy & Religion

9 responses to “T’aego’s Awakening

  1. What about those of us who have no mystical bent whatsoever, who don’t need to see things in magical, mystical terms at all, who can simply accept reality as it comes without having to tack on a load of ridiculous woo?

  2. Ah, but my mystical bent may be no different than your non-mystical bent in that neither of us choose to be who we are. It is not that I have a “need” to see things mystically, it is just that I do occassionally. But how I decide to act on these perceptions is a different matter. Are you following me?

    Your statement reminds me of a previous post of mine with the picture on that post being very appropriate: See The Atheist’s Last Vice” and tell me what you think. Please try to read for understanding and watch your reflexes and habits. (not meant to be too pejorative but with a handle like yours … ! smile. )

    Oh yes, see all the other defects of this mind I ride here: “Sabio’s Folly” and then get back to me.

  3. BTW, “BS”, I have re-worded the poll question which may have prompted you inquiry. Hopefully you are not comfortable with the selections available.
    (I have just started experimenting with polls, so please bear with me.)
    Thank you.

  4. But I do choose who I am and how I view things, it’s not hard-coded into my brain. When I was a Christian, many years ago, I saw things in magical, mystical terms, I saw the “hand of God” in everything, etc. When I finally realized that there was no good reason to think that this God-character was real, I stopped viewing the world that way, I came to terms with reality being the way reality is, not how I might wish it could be.

    There are probably a lot of atheists out there who deep-down wish there was a god of some sort, even though they cannot bring themselves to believe in one. Perhaps they look at things in pseudo-mystical terms because they’re predisposed to think it would be nice if there was some father figure in the sky. I’m not one of them though, I have no interest in their being a god if there factually isn’t one, I can accept what actually is and reject anything and everything else without problem.

  5. Earnest

    I profoundly enjoy my delusions of deism and embrace them. If I were to fight deism because supposedly it is false at some level I would exhaust myself and not live in as much comfort as I do now. For me the fight between the deists, atheists, anarchists and whoever else has become a spectator sport. I am having a great time being alive and I don’t care if it’s real or not.

    In martial arts I have found myself in “contact” with the feeling described by T’aego. So it is real. Or it is false. Who cares! It doesn’t matter!

    I felt it and I liked it. And I really don’t care if you or whoever thinks I’m delusional for either sensing this or liking it or thinking it is from my own neurotransmitters or from the Flying Spaghetti Monster or whatever.

    I deliberately voted for dualistic illusion because it allows me to bask in irrationality and let people quit asking me to defend my beliefs rationally. Because if I deliberately believe in a dualistic illusion then there is no rationality to either defend or attack.

    I must say it’s nice to finally find an atheist website which seems largely devoid of vitriol, quite a refreshing change from the usual whining about the ignorance of others and screaming about past injustices.

    I’m a Cubmaster and in the manuals that the boys follow there is an elective they can do called “make something useful”. I find that my brain when it makes me feel the way T’aego describes is making something useful because it makes me feel that I am more functional than I was in the first place.

    Perhaps this means that I enjoy basking in bursts of basal brain endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. That would be similar to the behavior of the drug addicts I treat in my recovery practice. Perhaps we are all more similar than we would like to imagine.

  6. Nice Earnest — I essentially agree and welcome your company !

  7. Most of that passage resonated with me too. I see how it can be approached from a mystical perspective but it should also speak to those like myself who revel in the reductionist, materialist perspective.

    To me it’s about the fundamental law of nature. Everything is a manifestation of that law. Stars, planets, birds, people, intelligence, free will, morality, our notion of happiness, beauty, everything.

    The more closer you are to understanding the law, the more moral and happier you will be in the long run.

    So I see that passage as an optimistic one. He is saying, yes there is an external truth. Not everything is subjective and relative. Go seek it out and try get in touch with it cos it’s awesome.

    That piece is like any great art, Make you look at reality from different perspectives. They don’t necessary describe things that are not there.

  8. @ Rene: I agree. I actually have both aspects in myself — the one identical to yours (well said, btw), and the other that has the sense of a universal conscious non-intervening principle — which is non-sense of course, but I can’t help it. I believe we are all a mixture of beliefs and contradictory ones at that. Any momentary self is just a loose binding of a given set of our multiple beliefs. I call this my “Many Self-No Self notion” — sort of Buddhist. I will post on it later. Thanx for commenting !

  9. JoanieD

    Sabio, you may like this quotation from Nelson Mandela. I love it:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

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