A Complete Experience

Excerpt from a talk given by Shinzen Young on January 3, 2008:

To have a complete experience is to love something to death and to know it to death. Whether it’s your self or any sensory event, big or small.

When you love it to death and know it to death, you’re too busy experiencing it to make an object out of it, so in a sense it’s not there. But it’s not there because you’re so busy knowing it, so it’s more there.

It’s both more there and less there than normal human experience. Therefore it's a kind of todo and a kind of nada, a kind of completeness and a kind of nothingness at exactly the same time. Which sounds paradoxical, sort of ridiculous actually, logically speaking.

But I would have to say that most people, from my point of view, are half-alive and half-dead and they call that living. The spiritual path, or the path to enlightenment, is about being completely alive and completely dead at exactly the same time. And that’s what might be called real living, true living.

So knowing it to death is both rich and — at the same time — vacuous. And loving it to death, it’s through this absolute affirmation for it to be just as it is that its vacuity becomes experienced directly.