The beauty beyond thought
It was a sunny day. One rode a bicycle along an empty street. At the crossroad, one stopped to look at the sky, and the distant sounds of pigeons can be heard, as they circled in the sky in grand formation. The pattern of their flight was so harmonious, effortlessly expanding and contracting, yet maintaining an overall shape of togetherness. The scientists had tried to explain this flight pattern. Yet, without the scientific musings, or daily worries of work and life, this flight became something extraordinary. It was beauty beyond the words. It needed no description, and without the mind intruding, it was beauty. Then the birds, with great synchronization, settled on the side of a building top, and the distance between each bird was so exactly the same. That harmony, that space, was untouched by man.
It was an endless desert. One could not see beyond it, and in the horizon was the sky covered with clouds. There were no sun, but an immense gray which covered the ground. One walked within this immensity, and there were no worries of tomorrow. There was only the seeing of this vast expanse, of emptiness, of a sense of deep solitude one can only feel away from all human existence. There were so few man-made things here. This was probably what the ancients had seen. One can only be humble in face of this vastness. One can only be bewildered by this wonder inexplicable by thought. Yet, to run away from this empty power, this deep and abiding spring of life, human beings have created countless toys to play with, and the toy-maker is thought.
The dog had a pair of eyes so innocent, that one was surprised to see that such eyes exist. Among the city people, with their competitive and aggressive game, their subtle manipulation, such eyes do not exist. The eyes were always covered with a sense of fear, afraid of being found vulnerable, so in reaction the eyes and the face and the mannerisms were colored with cruelty and indifference. The dog were not affected by such hurt, although it was beaten since little, it still remained innocent, clear, without any intention to hurt. There are many pets, abused, neglected and beaten, that they had become cruel like their owners. Without such innocence, how can there be beauty? Without the emptying of pain and pleasure, of this cruel pursuit of power, how can there be the space, the leisure, the perception of a thing sublime? Human beings are so hurt, by each other, and not knowing how to dissolve the trauma, continue this hurt, this pain, this violent and brutal game we call civilization. The dog was simple. It simply wanted to share its joy, to share its sense of the deep security of love, to play without the worries of tomorrow. Therefore, the dog sleeps soundly, and wakes you up in the morning, in sync with the entire earth.
Is beauty made by thought? Is beauty in a painting, in a poem, in the description, representation of something else? Or, is beauty that which cannot be said, put into words, a fleeting moment, which can never grasped, and therefore always new? In the pursuit of beauty, have we evaded it? Have we, through our constant effort, destroyed what is beautiful? And in its place, have we erected idols, authorities, what we regarded as sacred? Can there be beauty when there is the fear of authority? Can there be beauty when we imitate an authority? Can there be beauty when we try to become, when we are so occupied by business, which means being busy about endless nothings? Without a sense of beauty, is there any meaning to life? Mustn't life be imbued with beauty, so joy is a reality? Yet can beauty be pursued like we pursue money and power?
Isn't beauty always unpremeditated? Isn't beauty always surprising? One walked along a road by the lake, and out of nothing, a deep and voluminous cloud, shined by the sun, entered into perception. And for that moment, one was speechless, and in that speechlessness, the beauty shined forth, without effort and planning. It was the most grandeur vision, without any thought process, without the attempt to retain or to avoid. In that splendid silence, beauty was obvious, apparent, whole.
Yet, are we sensitive to our life, our surroundings, a piece of leaf floating in the air? Do we watch the sunset, not writing it down, not recording it with our technology, but to watch simply, to just abide with it? Do we watch the clouds, their slow or fast movement, their tremendous shadow? Are we sensitive to a little bug, its tiny movement of the wings, of its legs, of how it keeps balance and how it feeds? Do we see the wild cat, to just be sensitive to its movement, its agility, and constant alertness, without wanting to possess it, to photograph it, to pet it for our own pleasure, but to just be with it? Do we see the wrinkles on the face, the gray hair growing out of fatigue? Do we listen to the sound of an early morning, when the birds begin their morning songs, and when the sky wakes from an eternal and deep blue to the gentle light of dawn? Do we look at the moon, the stars, Venus and Saturn, their brightness, vitality, and their pattern in the sky?
If beauty is important to us, we will not destroy. We will refuse to cut trees for pleasure, to kill for our taste. We will only take what is necessary to maintain this body. If beauty is necessary, then we refuse to exploit, to pillage and plunder. Yet, thought has masqueraded itself as beauty, and we think beauty can be created by thought. It is quite obvious that beauty cannot be created by thought. That which is beautiful is beyond thought, and what thought can do is only to represent, to remember, to depict. Thought can copy the originality of beauty, yet a copy remains a copy. A copy can never be original. Thought is the copy, is the movement of imitation, representation. What thought learns is turned into memory, either written down in a book or conditioned in a brain. Memory is repetitive, and such repetitive movement is only the evocation of a past pattern, and therefore the newness, the vitality of beauty is denied. Beauty needs no invitation, no practice, no path. Beauty cannot be cultivated, stored, and remembered. Beauty is, when the mind abandons itself, when it leaves its accumulation far behind. With the cessation of knowledge, of the past, which makes up the mind, the self, the ego, beauty is obvious. To pursue beauty is only to build up more bile of thought, to become more cunning, more determined, more subtly violent and cruel. Thought is a great deceiver, and in its pursuit it can make up any lie. Hypocrisy is the domain of thought. Only in honesty can beauty be.