Tag Archives: causation

Zen Koan

An ancient zen koan says: “The enlightened man is at one with the law of causation.” What does this mean? I think it has something to do with our ideas of fate and free will.

We ordinarily think of the concepts of fate and free will as two opposite things. The Chinese master from the 13th century who recorded the koan, however, is suggesting that they are both parts of one whole, like dice which reveal multiple faces.

I’m a very martian person and I often wonder if things would fall into place without my ever taking the initiative. But first of all, because Mars is so prominent in my horoscope, it’s quite difficult for me not to act. And I imagine that things would fall out differently if I could control myself and be more patient or passive.

Still, I think the zen koan implies that I should try to let things go, to not be so attached to results and to try to go with the flow of the Universe more. It doesn’t appear to say that I can ever totally over-ride or escape “causation.” That would mean trying to control the Universe, which the Greeks would have called hubris.

Being an astrologer, however, I also think there’s room to consider that I’m here for a reason, which is indicated in my horoscope. And that, too, is part of the causation that I find myself in. Living that reality, it seems to me, may also be part of being “at one with the law of causation.”

Of course, when we do become enlightened, all will be crystal clear!