Friday, August 10, 2007

The Zen of Blake

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

It is no coincidence that D.T. Suzuki quotes the very same passage in his Essays in Zen Buddhism, to demonstrate the fullness of Zen experience. The world is able to be perceived in a grain of sand because the self, having its center everywhere, can identify itself in the "Minute Particulars"of our world. Every encounter becomes a potential for enlightenment. The self no longer stands against the other, but rather becomes the other. That is why, for Blake,'The most sublime act is to set other before you." Further, this experience (Prajna or The Divine Vision) makes possible an identification with the most ordinary of things. In Songs of Experience (1794) it is a common fly that Blake identifies with:

Am not I
a fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

Mark Ferrara

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