ALIVENESS AS A PERSON is not finally as a person—which is to say in a popular sense as a body or as a “brain-mind” or as a modern Casper-like soul-ghost. There is an oceanus, a cosmos, of aliveness, intelligence that is visible in a person, tree, wind, water.
In Returning to Silence, Dainen Katagiri suggests that in looking at a tree, “From moment to moment, the tree explains itself. If we look casually, we likely see our sense of what we have learned to define as a tree rather than the essence of a tree. But if we exclude our presumptions, Katagiri suggests that “There is something more beautiful and much more worthy than what we usually see.” He suggests that the universe is the content—“the whole personality”—of the tree or of anything that we look at. In this sense, instead of an object or force we are looking through a gateless gate. The event in the moment is the expression of the universe in that place and time. And if we see what Siddartha saw, we do not simply imagine the universe before us. We directly experience ourselves, and the discriminators of “I” and “we” drop away—no longer a perception of looking outward or looking at.