Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting gaily about. He knew nothing about Zhuangzi. Then suddenly he awoke and he was at once solidly and unmistakably himself, Zhuangzi. But he didn’t know whether he was a man who dreamt he was a butterfly or was a butterfly dreaming he was a man. Surely there’s a difference between Zhuangzi and a butterfly. This is what we call the transformation of things.
—from The Zhuangzi, a Daoist text (authored by Master Zhuang)
The small self is always trying to hold off the world. But we are really a kind of flow. We feel the warm empathy at the bottom of all things. All things have Buddha nature. Not opposing reality is the beginning of all awakenings.
Even a time of torpor, or a time when plans come apart, or we thought the culture was going in one way and it’s going in another—we rely on the spaciousness, we rely on not what we’ve planned and schemed, but we rely on what’s been opened up in our hearts. Transcript from the PZI Zen Online recording from Sunday, June 21, 2020.
Allison talks about the ‘transformation of things’ referred to in the Zhuangzi koan where he dreamed he was a butterfly. Summer Sesshin, 2019