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April 15, 2014

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I think that you Zennist are a supporter of Brahmanism rather than Buddhism. Brahmanism is about “self”, but Buddhism is about “no-self”. It is because Brahmanism puts emphasis on substance but Buddhism on function. I like to use the analogy of one ocean and its waves when it comes to explaining to myself the relationship of a human being to One Mind. In this analogy each human being is represented by a wave, distinguishable from other waves, but not apart from the ocean (One Mind). Although each wave is just water from the substance point of view, it is the shape (form) of the wave that defines its distinguishable characteristics. And the form in turn is the result of functioning (activity) of the ocean. Thus form is nothing but water whether we consider its substance or function. Substance (essence) of One Mind is typically defined as Emptiness or Thatness, so the human-wave is simply Moving (functioning, active) Emptiness; Moving Thatness.

If the human-wave were to look toward its form (shape) then it could not really say this is permanently “me, mine, myself” because the wave’s form changes from moment to moment as the wave moves along. Thus clinging to a specific form is marked inevitably with impermanence, suffering and no-self. If the human-wave were to look towards the depth of the water-emptiness then it would see just water, water, water, wherever it found itself in the ocean. It would see always the inseparable union of emptiness as substance and its own “seeing” (clarity of awareness). However the resulting union of the emptiness and awareness of such seeing, although seemingly permanent, is also marked with no-self as no particular patch of water could be claimed by the moving human-wave to be specifically “me, mine, myself”. Thus claiming that the nature of the human-wave is emptiness-awareness or even the whole ocean (One Mind) would also be wrong. A supporter of Brahmanism identifies himself with the whole ocean which he calls Brahman and this I believe is wrong.

Brahmanism is looking in the end at the world only with the eye of “sameness”. Imagine a lumberjack with one eye of “sameness” and one eye of “differentiation” standing in front of some forest. Looking at it only with the eye of differentiation he would see pine, spruce, all different types of trees of different shapes. Looking at the forest only with the eye of sameness he would see wood, wood, only wood he has to chop down.

If you look at the world with eye of sameness only, you are bound to see emptiness only, or awareness only, or Brahman only. But looking at the world (One Mind, one ocean) with both eyes you realize that you are a function (wave), because a wave has the right mix of sameness (substance-emptiness) and differentiation (form/shape).

In Tibetan iconography the Moving Thatness is typically represented by a painting of Tathagata in sexual embrace with its consort (Dakini) representing Non-Moving Thatness. To emphasize the activity (function), the Tathagata is painted in blue (colour of wind), and during the intercourse he is standing up and has a fierce (energetic) expression on his face. The true nature of human being as Tathagata is thus symbolised as motion (function, activity). The true nature is like a flame of a candle moving onto another candle. It is ungraspable, intangible. Thus the doer of the deeds cannot be found. True nature is just functioning, process, vibration, breath of Reality, but of course inseparable from the substance-emptiness.

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