'When discrimination is not discriminating and yet discriminating, we have perfect enlightenment.' (Suzuki, 'Essentials of Buddhism', p. 22). This seems to mean: when the kind of discrimination in question is not a discriminating (does not discriminate or is not seen as discriminating) and yet discriminates in some sense, we have perfect enlightenment, i.e. either perfect enlightenment is necessary in order to do that, or when we are able to do that we experience perfect enlightenment. But what is the meaning of this?

Dr. Suzuki speaks on the next page of the 'pure undefiled spiritual world of non-discrimination, while the defiling world is that of thought and discrimination'. We may then re-define the statement as follows: 'When discrimination, based on rational thinking, is seen to be really non-discriminating, i.e. not a discriminating at all in reality, it is then seen to be nevertheless what we know as discriminating, but of a kind only recognisable as such by those who have perfect enlightenment, i.e. who have seen that rational thinking, in the spiritual world of reality, is not discrimination at all.'

In our own jargon: what our two eyes see and split-mind knows as rational discrimination, our third eye sees and whole-mind knows undiscriminated as one whole, but when thereafter we see it - let us say with all three eyes - we perceive the discrimination that potentially exists in not discriminating, in perceiving that one whole wherein there is no place for discrimination when seen by the intuitional eye. The discriminating then effected by our normal two eyes and split-mind is of another character, one which we may provisionally describe as 'potential'.

More precisely, in whole-mind the discrimination of split-mind is automatically merged in not discriminating, although potential discriminating is inherent therein, so that in the enlightened the two points of view can be seen, the discrimination of split-mind tempered by the not discriminating vision of whole-mind.

(Note: I have adhered throughout to the distribution of the terms 'discrimination' and 'discriminating' as used by Dr. Suzuki.)

In this, unusually, a Zen master speaks of discriminating - which is that which occurs in the mind, instead of that which is discriminated - which is the apparent object of that process. Habitually we are asked to see two discriminated objects as one, two 'opposites' or complementaries united in what is termed 'self-identity'. But there are no such objects, as they well know, outside consciousness, and the functioning of split-mind whose modus operandi lies in dualistic alternation in a time-sequence, is not capable of having two thoughts simultaneously. The requirement of the masters only appears to be feasible when it is replaced in the mind wherein it occurs, and therein, as here, we can see at least how it may be.

This constitutes a key-example of the Buddha's formula, quoted from the Diamond Sutra, for the term 'discriminating' covers all forms of judging, and the innumerable qualities and things judged by us are not considered, but the mental process only - which is all that can be said to occur or to have any degree of reality.

(© RKP, 1963)

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