John Tan Purpose of one hand clapping koan is not for the realization of conditionality.
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Alejandro Serrano
Alejandro Serrano Yeah well, it also reveals clapping sound does not rise with a clapping hand. Pretty conditioned.
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Yacine Haffar
Yacine Haffar Please do tell us more John :)
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John Tan
John Tan Yacine, conditionality is crucial but more about a specific taste of suchness. Here "suchness" means ur mind itself.

We can say duality and non-duality r too conditionality but the aim is more abt the direct taste of "mind" itself, when experienced
as dual, what is it.

When experienced as non-dual how is it directly.

Means how this taste is like when in dual, in non-dual or in oneness.

Of course we can say it is to point out "conditionality and mind" but it is more abt the immediate mind itself.

Directing one to see the relationship of "externality of things" and "internal mind" and express not the "logic" but the "taste" of it.
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Alejandro Serrano
Alejandro Serrano John Tan yes. But I’m interested in knowing how do we get these tastes, and more precisely, putting it into words. Perhaps this inquiry isn’t very zen. Or maybe it is even though we get too wordy. Yet being wordy has indeed led me to the open heart. ...See More
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John LM Tan
John LM Tan Alejandro, I would separate non-arisen and emptiness from the luminosity. Imo, it's a separate pointing. The one hand clapping here directly points to the luminosity.

What is the way that leads the practitioner to “the direct taste”? In zen, koan
is the technique and the way.

The one hand clapping koan is the instrument that leads one to directly and intuitively authenticate presence = sound.

Let’s use another koan for example, “Before birth who am I?”, this is similar to just asking “Who am I”. The “Before birth” here is to skilfully lead the thinking mind to penetrate to the limit of its own depth and suddenly completely cease and rest, leaving only I-I. Only this I as pure existence itself. Before birth, this I. After birth, this I. This life or 10 thousand lives before, this I. 10 thousand lives after, still this I. The direct encounter of the I-I.

Similarly the koan of the sound of one hand clapping, is to lead the practitioner after initial break-through into I-I not to get stuck in dead water and attached to the Absolute. To direct practitioner to see the ten thousand faces of presence face to face. In this case, it is that “Sound” of one hand clapping.

Whether one hand claps or before both hands clap, what is that sound? It attempts to lead the practitioner into just that “Sound”. All along there is only one hand clapping, two hands (duality) are not needed. It is quite similar to contemplating "in hearing always only sound, no hearer".

As for the empty and non-arisen nature of that Sound, zen koans have not (imo) been able to effectively point to the non-arisen and emptiness of one’s radiance clarity.
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What is the sound of one hand clapping?

“Q: Subject and object are nondual?

KW: You know the Zen koan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Usually, of course, we need two hands to clap--and that is the structure of typical experience. We have a sense of ourselves as a subject in here, and the world as an object out there. We have these "two hands" of experience, the subject and the object. And typical experience is a smashing of these two hands together to make a commotion, a sound. The object out there smashes into me as a subject, and I have an experience--the two hands clap together and experience emerges.

And so the typical structure of experience is like a punch in the face. The ordinary self is the battered self--it is utterly battered by the universe "out there." The ordinary self is a series of bruises, of scars, the results of these two hands of experience smashing together. This bruising is called "duhkha," suffering. As Krishnamurti used to say, in that gap between the subject and the object lies the entire misery of humankind.

But with the nondual state, suddenly there are not two hands. Suddenly, the subject and the object are one hand. Suddenly, there is nothing outside of you to smash into you, bruise you, torment you.
Suddenly, you do not have an experience, you are every experience that arises, and so you are instantly released into all space: you and the entire Kosmos are one hand, one experience, one display, one gesture of great perfection. There is nothing outside of you that you can want, or desire, or seek, or grasp--your soul expands to the corners of the universe and embraces all with infinite delight. You are utterly Full, utterly Saturated, so full and saturated that the bound- aries to the Kosmos completely explode and leave you without date or duration, time or location, awash in an ocean of infinite care. You are released into the All, as the All--you are the self-seen radiant Kosmos, you are the universe of One Taste, and the taste is utterly infinite.

So what is the sound of that one hand clapping? What is the taste of that One Taste? When there is nothing outside of you that can hit you, hurt you, push you, pull you--what is the sound of that one hand clapping?

See the sunlight on the mountains? Feel the cool breeze? What is not utterly obvious? Who is not already enlightened? As a Zen Master put it, "When I heard the sound of the bell ringing, there was no I, and no bell, just the ringing." There is no twiceness, no twoness, in immediate experience! No inside and no outside, no subject and no object--just immediate awareness itself, the sound of one hand clapping.

So you are not in here, on this side of a transparent window, looking at the Kosmos out there. The transparent window has shattered, your bodymind drops, you are free of that confinement forever, you are no longer "behind your face" looking at the Kosmos--you simply are the Kosmos. You are all that. Which is precisely why you can swallow the Kosmos and span the centuries, and nothing moves at all. The sound of this one hand clapping is the sound the Big Bang made. It is the sound of supernovas exploding in space. It is the sound of the robin singing. It is the sound of a waterfall on a crystal-clear day. It is the sound of the entire manifest universe--and you are that sound.

Which is why your Original Face is not in here. It is the sheerest Emptiness or transparency of this shimmering display. If the Kosmos is arising, you are that. If nothing arises, you are that. In either case, you are that. In either case, you are not in here. The window has shattered. The gap between the subject and object is gone. There is no twiceness, no twoness, to be found anywhere--the world is never given to you twice, but always only once--and you are that. You are that One Taste.

This state is not something you can bring about. This nondual state, this state of One Taste, is the very nature of every experience before you slice it up. This One Taste is not some experience you bring about through effort; rather, it is the actual condition of all experience before you do anything to it. This uncontrived state is prior to effort, prior to grasping, prior to avoiding. It is the real world before you do anything to it, including the effort to "see it non-dually."

So you don't have to do something special to awareness or to experience in order to make it nondual. It starts out nondual, its very nature is nondual--prior to any grasping, any effort, any contrivance. If effort arises, fine; if effort doesn't arise, fine; in either case, there is only the immediacy of One Taste, prior to effort and non-effort alike.

So this is definitely not a state that is hard to get into, but rather one that is impossible to avoid. It has always been so. There has never been a moment when you did not experience One Taste--it is the only constant in the entire Kosmos, it is the only reality in all of reality. In a million billion years, there has never been a single second that you weren't aware of this Taste; there has never been a single second where it wasn't directly in your Original Face like a blast of arctic air.

Of course, we have often lied to ourselves about this, we have often been untruthful about this, the universe of One Taste, the primordial sound of one hand clapping, our own Original Face. And the nondual traditions aim, not to bring about this state, because that is impossible, but simply to point it out to you so that you can no longer ignore it, no longer lie to yourself about who you really are.

Q: So this nondual state--does this include the duality of mind and body, of Left and Right?

KW: Yes. The primordial state is prior to, but not other to, the entire world of dualistic Form. So in that primordial state there is no subject and object, no interior and exterior, no Left and no Right. All of those dualities continue to arise, but they are relative truths, not absolute or primordial truth itself. The primordial truth is the ringing; the relative truth is the "I" and the "bell," the mind and the body, the subject and the object. They have a certain relative reality, but they are not, as Eckhart would say, the final word.

And therefore the dilemmas inherent in those relative dualisms cannot be solved on the relative plane itself. Nothing you can do to the "I" or the "bell" will make them one; you can only relax into the prior ringing, the immediacy of experience itself, at which point the dilemma does not arise. It is not solved, it is dissolved--and not by reducing the subject to the object, or the object to the subject, but by recognizing the primordial ground of which each is a partial reflection.

Which is why the dilemmas inherent in those dualisms--between mind and body, mind and brain, consciousness and form, mind and nature, subject and object, Left and Right--cannot be solved on the relative plane--which is why that problem has never been solved by conventional philosophy. The problem is not solved, but rather dis- solved, in the primordial state, which otherwise leaves the dualisms just as they are, possessing a certain conventional or relative reality, real enough in their own domains, not but absolute.”

Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything. Chapter 13.
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