What do you have to do?
Pack your bags,
Go to the station without them,
Catch the train,
And leave your self behind.
Quite so: the only practice
and once.

Wei Wu Wei Robert Powell Douglas HardingIn this rare picture is Wei Wu Wei, Robert Powell and Douglas Harding.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Wei Wu Wei (Terrance Gray) wrote a number of books and articles on the process of seeing who we really are. His writings point to the heart of the nondualistic and mystical experience expressed in eastern traditions. He wrote in rhyme and prose, in dialogue, and in radical essays. Wei Wu Wei was a master of words—using them and the concepts they reflect, to point to that which exists beyond words and concepts. Though several of his books have gone out of print, his message is perhaps even more fitting and understood now than when he was alive. As an introduction to this remarkable man’s work, we share with you several essays that were sent by a friend of Inner Directions who makes his home in prison. He read most of Wei Wu Wei’s writings over two decades ago, and they struck a deep chord in his being. For him, this represents true freedom, transcending the outer prison we all find ourselves in.

The inadequacy of the short paragraphs that follow is due to the insufficiency of their expression. They are offered in the hope that the verity which underlies them may penetrate the mist of their presentation and kindle a spark that shall develop into the flame of fulfillment.

Please be so good as to believe that there is nothing whatever mysterious about this matter. If it were easy, should we not all be Buddhas? No doubt, but the apparent difficulty is due to our conditioning. The apparent mystery, on the other hand, is just archaic, an inability to perceive the obvious owing to a conditioned reflex, which causes us persistently to look in the wrong direction.

Alive, Alive-O

Surely today, and increasingly, there is an exag­gerated tendency to overestimate the importance of the fact of living—of our apparent existence as individual pheno­mena. It is almost a dictum to say that we “have only one life,” and “must make the most of it.”

Whatever the origin of this, it seems to be great nonsense, and thoroughly demoralizing. In the first place is there any evidence, let alone likelihood, that it is a fact? Is it not more probable that “we” have far too many lives? That, certainly, is the view of the oriental majority of the human race.And even if that were definitely not so, what is this “living” of a “life,” subject to conceptual “time,” and who or what “lives” it? The notion of the “sacredness of life”—human only of course—is somewhat unevenly distributed over the surface of the Earth.

Dreams and poppycock! Let us find out what in fact we are—and then the importance and apparent duration of this phenomenal experience will seem to matter very little indeed!

“A long life, and a merry one.” By all means, and why not? But does it matter? Do we bother about the longevity of—say—fish?

Note: “Life” is only manifestation expressed in a space-time context, entirely hypothetical; there is in fact no “thing” whatever to begin or to end, to be “born” or to “die,” and our experience is a psychic phenomenon.

To Hell with It All!

For goodness’ sake, let’s give up all this objectivising nonsense! It has gone on altogether too long! Wasting our apparent lives objectivising from morning to night, and from night to morning—except for deep sleep when we go sane for a short respite.

Take the absurd idea people have about there being a moon in the sky! What is a “moon,” what is a “sky,” and where is there either the one or the other to be “inside” or “outside” the other or the one? Did you ever hear such balderdash?

We know perfectly well, you who are reading this know perfectly well, where the so-called “moon” comes from, what it is, where it belongs, and the so-called “sky” along with it! They belong with all the other phenomenal objects we objectify day and night, dreaming “asleep” or dreaming “awake” rhinos and roses, beetles and bodhisattvas, dande­lions and dragons.

Aren’t you heartily sick of them all? No? Very well, then, admire them, love them, do what you like with them, but for Heaven’s sake don’t go on thinking that they “exist” as such in some sort of way somewhere or other “over there,” “up there,” “down there” or any other sort of “where”!

You know quite well where they “exist,” how they “exist,” and that their only “existence” is at home where they belong, which is where you perceive them.

That is living practice.

Gone with My Head

My head is the center of the universe.

Everything I see, sense, know, is centered in my head (and in yours, and in the beetles).

All are objects of which my head is subject (mediate Subject as a head, ultimate subject as “I”).

But I cannot see, sense, or know my head, and the inference of its existence is inadmissible, sensorially unjustifiable. I perceive no such object, all other objects, but not that. My head alone is not my object.

Of course not: it is subject, and an eye cannot see itself, I cannot sensorially perceive myself, subject cannot know itself—for that which is known is thereby an object. Subject cannot subsist as its own object.

So, all that is object appears to exist;
Subject alone does not appear to exist.

But object cannot exist apart from subject, whose manifest aspect it is.

Therefore it is the apparently inexistent subject that IS, and the apparently existent object that is not.

Yet, since object is subject, and subject is object, intemporally that which they are, all that they can be, and all that IS, it is the absence of my head (and of yours, and of the beetle’s), which is also the presence of everything.

Where, then, am I? Where, then, are you, and the beetle?

We are our absence.

Seeking the Seeker

That which you seek and cannot find—is the Seeker.

The reason why the “Dharmakaya” cannot be found or described is that ultimately IT is the Seeker, the

Describer, which is seeking—and so would be the Subject making an object of Itself.

Every time you try to name THIS-HERE-NOW you are an eye trying to see itself. You cannot objectify THAT-WHICH-YOU-ARE, and that which you can objectify is THAT-WHICH-YOU-ARE-NOT.

This which is seeking is That which is sought, and That which is sought is This which is seeking.

“Dharmakaya” is just Mind (which cannot be found because, sought, it is the Seeker); and “Shunyata” (void) is what an eye does not see when it tries to look at itself.

But there is no “Dharmakaya,” no “Mind,” no “Shunyata”—no thing whatever to be sought. And there is no “thing” whatever to seek any other “thing.” Nor is there anyone to experience their total absence which is also his own.

When Bodhidharma told Hui K’o to bring him his mind so that he might tranquilize it, and Hui K’o failed to find it, Bodhidharma said, “There you see—I have tranquilized it for you.” What then enlightened Hui K’o? He saw that the sought was the Seeker, and that the seeker was the Sought.

When Huang Po said, “You cannot use Mind to seek Mind, the Buddha to seek the Buddha, or the Dharma to seek the Dharma,” he pointed at the same essential truth. The sought cannot see, for the sought can only be the seeker.

Padmasambhava, the supreme Master, said, “There are no two such things as sought and seeker (also practice and practicer, thought and thinker, action and actor); when fully comprehended, the sought (practice, etc.) is found to be one with the seeker (practiser, etc.). If the seeker himself, then sought, cannot be found, thereupon the goal of the seeking (practicing, etc.) is attained and is also the end of the search itself. Then nothing more is to be sought, nor is there any need to seek anything.” He adds, “Inasmuch as from eternity there is nothing whatsoever to be practiced, there is no need to fall under the sway of erroneous methods.”

Here again, and in all these statements, this understanding is the understanding of all that is to be understood, of all that need be understood, perhaps of all that can be understood—for is anything else fundamentally and entirely true? Here again the integral understanding of this is itself the Awakened state.

And the only practice is seeing this, which is Awareness, which is this which an eye cannot see when it looks at itself.

Practice is deepening understanding, for understanding is first an intuitional glimpse of the truth of this, then the obtaining of this intuitional glimpse at will, and, finally, the permanent installation of this inseeing when walking, standing, sitting and lying, in public and in private, asleep and awake.

The Answer to the Only Question

Practice? Who should be doing all that to whom?

You to yourself.

I have looked for myself for years, and have found no trace of anything but an object.

Why was that?

The question is the same—who is looking for what?

And the answer?

That which I was looking for was this which was looking

So you found yourself after all?


How so?

There was no thing to be found. The sought was the searcher and the searcher was the sought; and nothing of the kind existed as an object.

And so?

That was the end of the search. There was nothing further to look for, nor need for any looking.

What then?

That is the answer to all questions.

All questions?

Absolutely all: the final answer to all questions.

The complete answer.

I do not understand.

It cannot be understood.

Understanding is the result of a process which uses mind objectively. Understanding is phenomenal, personal, and dead.

Then one should not try to understand.

Mind is noumenal, impersonal, subjective: that is why it is all that you are, all that anything is—and no thing itself.

I am just that?

No, you are neither that nor this. One just is, and doesn’t know it. Everything just is, and doesn’t know it. Such is what one finds when one wakes up. Ask the Awakened!


From All Else Is Bondage and Open Secret. Copyright © Terrance Gray. Published by Sentient Publications.


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