Monday, February 15, 2016

Parshat Tetzaveh, 2nd Portion, Exodus 28:13-30, February 15, 2016

“The first two garments that G‑d described were the high priest’s Ephod and Breastplate. The Ephod was an apron-like garment tied around the waist, possessing two straps that rose in the back from the waist up to and over the shoulders. A precious stone was attached to the upper end of each of these straps; on these two stones were engraved the names of the twelve tribes. The Breastplate was a square piece of material onto which were fastened twelve different precious stones. The names of the twelve tribes were inscribed on these twelve gems. The Breastplate was tied to the Ephod at the top and bottom with wool cords. From Monday: The Sublime and the Mundane

“The Breastplate must not come loose from the Ephod.” Exodus 28:28

“...Zen maintains a stance of “not one” and “not two,” i.e., “positionless position,” where “not two” signals a negation of the stance that divides the whole into two parts, i.e., dualism, while “not one” designates a negation of this stance when the Zen practitioner dwells in the whole as one, while suspending judgment in meditation, i.e., non-dualism. Free, bilateral movement between “not one” and “not two” characterizes Zen’s achievement of a personhood with a third perspective that cannot, however, be confined to either dualism or non-dualism (i.e., neither “not one” nor “not two”).” From

So the breastplate for the priest represents the divine and the ephod the mundane world. And yet they are attached that they are one.

Even though we devote the sabbath to the divine, there are daily prayers that are prescribed. And on the sabbath, we eat (though some Jews don’t cook). So there are no days that are not devoted to both the sublime and the mundane.

I asked my wife about the difference between the two and she said that we create the distinction. In Zen, washing a bowl can be both the sublime and the mundane. In the most mundane act, being still, we can touch the sublime. In fact Dogan (13th century Zen Master) said that we are “one with the universe.” (For more, much more:

What is so special here is that both the breastplate and the ephod are laden with jewels and gold. The ephod was hardly mundane, though it represented the mundane.

Tonight I was reading mention in Buddhism of the supramundane to refer to the opposite of the mundane. I like this better than sublime because it is not different, but rather where you go when you move through the mundane. A art teacher of mine claimed that the greatest discovery of his life was that corners pick up dirt—perhaps he was defining the supramundane. It is not another place, but rather a way of (really) understanding what is already there.

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