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August 24, 2015

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If you do figure this one out in a way that can be expressed, I hope you will share the realization with others. Thank you for stopping along the way to discuss this.

By the way, smoking blocks your crown chakra, so don't.

Even though Hakuin and other masters smoked it takes some grace to handle such a vile poison. That one is very clear.

Thank you. The way i see emptiness is perfection. Every snowflake lands in the right place, nothing is ever hidden and can't be known despite the fact that our ego knows nothing. In the light of truth such knowledge is not needed except for the gain of evolutionary privilege which in itself is as samsaric as can get.

I'm still trying to work this all out.

All the best.

Bjorn,

I can’t help thinking as I write this that someone -- maybe Minx-- is going to jump out of the treetops whirling a bo-staff (KIYAAA!!!) to dash it all to bits, but here it is anyway, since I have been thinking about your comment…

The gunas are qualities, and mind in its natural state has no qualities, so they are empty of a separate existence (not two). But using Buddhist logic on emptiness, emptiness is also empty of the quality of being empty. That is how I see it. Nothing really captures what I am trying to say but maybe this works: it is the difference between emptiness as zero/nothingness (which seems to be how a lot of contemporary Buddhist teachers and practitioners approach it, the total zeroing out of self) and emptiness being the infinite, undefinable, irreducible and inconceivable. Even the quality of being infinite etc., is a quality (and therefore empty), and the nature of mind lacks this too as any kind of positive affirmation, so maybe it could be said in the infinite there is also the finite, and in the finite the infinite. What is worse this all seems hazy when trying to put it in words, but is not something that seems hazy upon reflection on the teachings and meditation, and I am not sure I have even tried to articulate this before. Maybe it is best just to say that mind is prior to all qualities/gunas.

I don’t deny the existence of beings. Nor do I think beings are eternal or even need to be beings as such. A Buddha-body can manifest without such limitations as mere beings or life-forms. Even if this is a dreamlike existence, beings devouring other beings seems like a bad dream, a really horrible nightmare with the stench of the slaughterhouse, rivers of blood and pus. Do you not agree? How strange that is? How awful? As long as the world is dreaming, perhaps we can awaken to a better dream, where hunger and craving are not the a priori of existence. Right conduct is in accord with noble wisdom – and for most of us, myself among them, the veil of ignorance is a terrible hindrance, and so I practice in faith, knowing that the quality of faith or faithlessness is also empty, but understanding the need for expediencies. And also knowing I have a long way to go. So whether the gunas are empty or not, I still will strive to practice good moral conduct and firm adherence to the ethical precepts of Buddhism, though I must say it is not an easy path, and at times it is all too tempting to waver.

Bjorn,

I understand Suzuki commented in his translation of the Lanka, regarding the strict practice of vegetarianism, that he felt this emphasis was in response to Chinese Taoists who apparently rejected Buddhism's avoidance of meat. Regardless of what the scriptures say, I have realized for myself avoiding meat is wise, and I think that is what Buddha taught, to verify his teachings for ourselves. It can be hard to break habits of many lifetimes even when we know such things lead to and create suffering. So I ask myself, facing such questions, are these things authentic to my purpose, do they add to or reduce suffering for myself and others. Just as Shakyamuni taught to his son and later disciple Rahula, if such thoughts, words, and actions lead to suffering we should upon reflection desist from them; and if not, we may continue. Certainly abiding by such practices as vegetarianism without the inward reflection and verification might seem advisable, but unless based on inward, innermost realization I wonder how much good they can do; likewise the Lanka advises a gradual approach to vegetarianism as I recall, which seems to support the need for deep introspection. All of this said, I often ask myself, do I want to carry this burden into another life? Once, when I was ill, I lost my hunger entirely. What a blessing that was to be free from such craving. How then but through inward reflection can we cultivate the wisdom necessary. Blessed be the dharma which points the way.

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