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November 17, 2019


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the meaning of no self is to view the world impersonally. Don't take offense

Ch’an master Hsuan Hua said this question of “beginninglessness” is a good test of understanding. If you don’t understand it’s because you have not understood the Buddha. If you do understand it, it’s because you have understood the Buddha and perceive wisdom and emptiness are in fact not distinct from one another in the slightest. He likened this in one of his discourses to the concept of zero. There is nothing to be found in zero, nothing at all. Zero is not the absence of anything nor is it the presence of something, it is simply the original and ultimate truth. No beginning, no end, just the Absolute undivided truth known to the wise.

When externalists hear this, eventually they will conceptualize a dull and nihilistic void, but for those who understand the Buddha this emptiness is instead perceived as bright, luminous actuality. Dualistic discriminations about appearances such as big and small, good or bad, logic or illogic, soul or no-soul, all such distinctions are also empty and clear and perfectly bright, with their infinite expansion having not the slightest differentiation from the zero point. For externalists this is not possible. For them it is like an electric shock to hear the Buddhadharma. Those pathetic hell-bound sentients filled with self-loathing and doomed to a torment of their own making, are so shaken by it they have to do something. They can’t just walk away or be silent because its truth is inescapable. It creates such an intolerable discomfort, like a mote in their eye, that they are eventually driven to invent and project their own distorted version of the Buddhadharma which is, ultimately, a demonic spasm and most pitiable in its inevitable result.

“Mendicants, transmigration has no known beginning. No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving” (SN 22:100).

Gotama's inability to find the beginning merely proves that tradition's claims (or his own if he really made such claims) to being omniscient are false. Which makes it all the more foolish to believe an absurdity like no self on the basis that the mistakenly think he taught it.

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