live like this

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

How to taste the pleasure of the moment and the real as it arises: the nyoze in the Zen tradition, “like that”.

The phenomenon of the "hikkikomori", these adolescents and adults who live in seclusion with their parents and refuse any form of social communication, is now tending to become widespread. They would be nearly a million in Japan! And this trend does not spare the West, where it is also beginning to be identified. No wonder, since we live in an era that prefers the sanitized charms of virtual reality to the direct and inevitably risky experience of the world, where social networks and their pseudonyms replace good old coffee conversations. Where a whole pharmacopoeia takes care of our fears and anxieties; where our diet buries the flavor of food under added fats, sugar and salt, thereby repudiating the wonderful blandness ; where we multiply leaks and distractions so as not to be confronted with our naked, full and entire reality. The way of experiencing reality as it is, in its immediate emergence, bears a very beautiful name in the Zen tradition: nyoze or "like that".

I still remember one of the sentences that surprised me the most in my tender adolescence when I laid my eyes on the translations of the ancient Chinese Ch'an texts. We owe it to the layman P'an Yü in the XNUMXth century:

What a marvelous activity, what a miracle!
Here I am drawing water and carrying wood!

Vdrunk the full and simple evidence of the world

Of course, I didn't understand it a bit and made a whole mystery out of it, imagining a bucolic and mystical realization at the same time, not realizing that this simple exercise of admiration concerned me in the first place and could be applied to this school homework, to the weeding of the driveway or to the kitchen table to be cleared, activities in front of which I willingly resented. Wisdom seemed to me much more just and delectable distilled in the tasty pages of books than in the recriminating voice of my dear mother. Nothing was more painful to me then than household chores or gardening which decidedly made the ground very low.

Nyozé manifests when the door of perception is left open to the world and things are perceived, touched, seen, smelled, tasted in a fullness free from judgment and appreciation.

Yet this invitation is to live reality without the intermediary of filters and sweeteners, to live the full and simple evidence of the world, Tathata in Sanskrit, which is so, as it is. Things perceived directly and crudely without intermediary or distortion. The blue of blue. The bitterness of the bitter. And this perception does not pass, of course, through the prism of thought which would hasten to capitalize, categorize or evaluate direct experience: nyoze then exists when the door of perception is left open to the world and things are touched, seen, smelled, tasted in a fullness free from judgment and appreciation. So we are open. Open to the fluctuation of impermanence, listening to the songs of birds in the spring canopy, we are attentive to the shimmering fabric of chirps, rolls, chirps and trills launched from all sides, we open our consciousness until giving it for flesh and kingdom the expanse of branches and of the sky crossed by so many songs, without choosing a single one. Rather than taking refuge on the side of observation, we become what is contemplated and we relax. We let our presence flow, irrigate the forms encountered and their metamorphoses, and our difference and singularity end up being erased. Perceive colors, flavors, smells, shapes and textures without inventing or inventorying them, but becoming their receptacle. Let the universe live and breathe us as it pleases. In the world of nyoze, any manipulation or trituration of the perceived is impossible, any use of the world as an object too. The object has ceased to make sense. The subject, that is to say the consciousness stripped of the inside or the outside, unfolds freely.

The bucket
Filled with rainwater
enough for today

And sinking again
green mountains

Just like that
It's raining, I'm soaked
I walk

Beggar I accept
The crushing sun

The little poems, the haikus, of Taneda Santoka, poet and mendicant monk of the last century, express this simple truth of the lived world without compromise. Heat or rain, cooked or soaked, the wandering priest consents without restriction or negotiation to whatever knocks at his door. It becomes rain and walks with it and in it, it receives the scorching sun as the most precious of gifts and recognizes itself everywhere, mixing without reticence or restriction.

Invitation cards

For an interesting taste adventure. Become aware of the words and comments that come to mind when you contemplate your plate or your bowl, this internal babble that always has its little commentary; apply yourself to perceive textures and colors without using words. When you take your first bite, don't comment. Just taste. As soon as a word or a judgment arises, and it inevitably will, return to the silence of true taste.

You get caught in the downpour, rather than rushing around with your shoulders up and tensed, relax and just walk calmly. Welcome the rain without trying to escape it or protect anything. Appreciate this freshness or this cold. be satisfied with this simple joy that children know well.

Can you live without all these “what ifs” with which you dress up situations and things, dress up beings. What if… you decided to stop wishing that nothing and no one was other or otherwise?

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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