“Unless all is known, nothing is known” | For those who toil among the dusts, vision is clouded: the world is a complex thing, without end, without beginning, a maze of thoughts and senses. Many do not even recognise their own state, or see that they are things of vapour, their lives scattered in a drift of atoms, prey to the accidents of flesh, illusion and time.
Others, though, realising the limits of their perceptions, and grasping the darkness of their condition, set out upon the Way – the TanZo. These ones seek illumination, entering the Still Building of their minds, undergoing the beautiful, arduous training of the wise, taught by skilled monks, bonded by the Marks and clans.
This is a serious matter, not without danger. Of those who enter the Building, not all return, for it is an infinite place, layered with worlds: disaster can lie there. Some return, having failed to reach the desired state; and, disappointed, set their lives back to the old rot and game, or settle for a compromised existence – these ones are like barbarians, and have little to concern us. Some succeed in part, achieving a kind of illumination, to live in harmony and tranquility, their minds light and their spirits at ease.
Yet, what do they really know, these ones, who are considered pure? Have they actually escaped all the confusions of the days of floating and dreaming? Are they truly fit to bow before His Majesty, the emperor of all the cantons, the Dustless One himself? Who can say? For creatures made of dust, what does it mean, to achieve “the state beyond all states”? What might you see, in the darkness of the Still Building, if you are illuminated? What does it mean, to become Dustless?
Volume 10 | Mask [ii]
Through an immense arboreal forest, travellers make their way, and the world prepares for a universal festival.
Villages put on their finest shows. The temples are decked with ornaments, banners proclaim the beauty of the sutras, pay homage to a far-off emperor.
The roads become tracks, and the tracks become paths. Paths narrow, and the trees press in. There are only small settlements: there is much wilderness. The prospect of safety dwindles. The chance of misdirection grows.
As in the world, so in the head: one traveller takes off his flesh, enters the vegetable labyrinth of the mind, and wanders in smoke and dreams ethereal palaces, the banks of fertile rivers, the streets of unending cities…
Although form is dust, the way to the Dustless state must be by form. To hold a glance, there must be a face: to look out, one must have eyes.
If the face in the mirror is a mask, what lies behind the skin? If the person inside the mirror is invisible, what is there left to see?