Looking at a photograph, we can’t see outside of the frame. Even with moving pictures, we can’t see outside of the frame. In the simple act of reading a book, the world that surrounds the text is significantly greater than the text, itself; which the text can’t cover. Looking at our own culture, including its religious beliefs and attitudes, we can’t see outside of the frame. But the non-framed world is really where Zen begins. In fact, all authentic spiritual paths are always outside of the frame. In the case of Siddhartha, before he became a Buddha, he wanted to leave the framework of his father’s kingdom and enter the forest.
All this leads to an interesting question: what is outside of the frame of our normally human perception? And is it possible to be a super kind of Alice in Wonderland and enter a world without frames?
In typical Western cultures, which anthropologists call monophasic, the focus of value falls within the frame—never outside of it as would be the case in a polyphasic culture. In the Buddha’s case, when is was the Bodhisattva Siddhartha, he rejected the monophasic view of his time. He wanted to step out of the frame. It was as if he knew that the real world was without frames, including the framework of the human body from which suffering is born because of man’s thirst for corporeal identity.
Upon his awakening, the Buddha saw the frameless world which no frame, no matter how great, might surround. Yet, as strange as it sounds, it is from the frameless than all frames arise or can be observed. In different words, what we call the frame of reference is, from the side of the absolute, sans frames. And as we look within during meditation, it is the frameless pure Mind that we hope to discover.