With both eyes open and healthy, we see stereoscopically. Our vision has three-dimensionality and depth. But if we close one eye, the world goes flat. Details seep out of the picture; relationships between objects pale. People become one-dimensional, like cutouts in space, their aliveness dissipating.

In the pointer to this koan, Yuan Wu describes those who see clearly: "They do not discriminate east from west, nor distinguish south from north, from morning till evening, evening till morning; but can you say they are fast asleep? Sometimes

their eyes are like comets, but can you say they are wide awake? Sometimes they call south north; but tell me, are they mindful or mindless? Are they people of the Way or just ordinary persons?" Is a person who sees clearly someone who is deeply caring? Or is this an unconcerned person? Or is it someone whose unconcern is the very essence of care?

What is it like to be in the presence of such a person, where the eyes are bright in their openness and bottomless in their gaze, taking everything in and letting it be released into the vastness; where east, west, north, south are not discriminated for or against; where you are not discriminated for or against? What is it like to be seen precisely as we truly are? What is it like to see yourself that way, beyond any cut-outs and frames? What is it like to offer that kind of seeing, that kind of being, to the world at large?

There is the reality of wholeness and completeness. There is also the reality of our limited perspective, which always hinges on ignoring something. The cause of suffering is that ignorance. The Second Noble Truth points to greed as source of ignorance, but greed is a manifestation of ignorance. Ignorance in the phrasing of this truth is big. To scale it down to a practical dimension, we can say that it simply indicates that we're ignoring something. We are bringing a limited perspective to something that is not limited.

Emblematically, birth is the moment when we emerge from within the body of our mother, where we have been gestating for nine months, coalescing into a new expression of wholeness. The vastness of the universe finds a new embodiment.