One eye is opened,
The other eye is unclosed,
Two eyes, no one sees.
Buddha’s eye open,
Buddha’s other eye unclosed,
Buddha sees Buddha.
Enlightenment is the ability to see.
Compassion is the inability to not see.
Equanimity is the unity of such seeing.
Understanding this, is grasping and rejecting what appear to be different.
Understanding this, reflections/resonances of same mind.
Understanding this, is to not settle on understanding.
Understanding, underlies appearance of ‘self’.
Understanding, I am that.
From the Advaita to Zen Yahoo Group:
“I believe in both free will and determinism, interacting in some complex tangled way.”
Of course ‘you’ do, as these are both ways of expressing/supporting a belief in ‘I’. Mind weaves opposing conceptual threads into the fabric of self-delusion.
What follows, is a tangle of things I’ve previously shared via twitter to speak to this theme:
We have free will to the extent we are free to believe we choose any of this, as we have a life preordained to the extent we believe it so.
As a “self” we are free to believe we choose, to make worldly choices, but ultimately this only serves to support the illusion of a “self”.
Suffering is having free will and acting like you don’t. Delusion is having no choice and acting like you do.
According to ‘Free Will’ OR according to ‘God’s Plan’? Separating these is the disease.
“Free Will” is an expression of arrogance. “God’s Will” is an expression of ignorance. Both reinforce the false notion of a separate self.
In non-spiritual terms, the whole “Free Will” vs. “God’s Will” debate is just a guilt trip vs an excuse. Pure fiction.
“Choices” are explanations (excuses/justifications) we use to label our natural responses to what arises, including this labeling response.
When choices are revealed to be unlimited, the only choice is to remain choice-less. Responses will naturally arise to what presents.
We take actions in response to what arises. Beyond that, you’re free to believe whatever you like.
A quote from Ken Wilber’s Foreword to ‘Big Mind/Big Heart’ by Genpo Roshi:
Wow! Sounds great! How much is “it” and where can I get “it”?
Seriously though, I don’t really have a problem with these guys claiming to sell awakening. I also am not bothered by those who are ever chasing after the next sure way to end their suffering and keep them in business. I feel only compassion for this state of affairs. It’s quite a show, and any protests I might mount would be for show (aka pointers).
To me, commercializing on the path in this way is no better or worse than the moralizing of the path done in the name of spirituality and religion. Neither has squat to do with awakening. Both seek to profit from the actions of other in their own way. Both are capable of harm/help.
I do not see any of this in terms of right/wrong. It’s just how “normal” people function. I do of course have a personal sense of this myself and live accordingly (mind naturally discriminates), but I find doing so for others to be offensive. As offensive as labeling anyone “awakened” or “unawakened” – and ignorant of the obvious contradiction in this thinking. Suchness offers an endless supply of such pointers.
So, rather than pushing some opinion in an effort to strengthen or shake loose anyone’s grasp on those they already hold, I’ll simply offer some reflection/pointers, triggered after I read that Ken Wilber quote above:
An awakening that can be repeated, or leaves any desire to do so, is a dream. A fleeting arising and passing in experiencing. A dreamer that seeks such experiences, uses them like sleeping pills to sustain the dream.
The more profound or mind-blowing any particular “awakening” experience is, or the more any particular practice is seen as the way to achieve such states, the greater the trap it becomes if it such experiences are mistaken to be anything but curious side effects.
Awakening is not to, or through, an experience. Certain experiences may simply render this obvious in ways others didn’t. Sometimes awakening will seem part of a “path”, other times “sudden”, but these are just appearances. We suddenly find that we are lost on the path. There is no other way. We are the experiencing…
Big Mind takes $ and offers techniques. Awakening will take everything, with no charge.
These are not mutually exclusive, as nothing can prevent awakening. People are interested in these sorts of offerings/experiences, so a product/service is being offered to them. It may be of great help to many, but realization/awakening is not self-help.
Some awaken and credit this or that action as being part of some path. Some attempt to create new tools/offer new insights. People are naturally compelled to have something/some way to share (unless you sit in a cave, and even that’s a statement).
Re-framing (the Jungian aspects of Big Mind, NLP, and many others) is a powerful technique, and can have great utility in problem solving.
Attempts to re-frame the unbounded, are ultimately a futile exercise of ego.
Reality is not a problem.
There is no lack. Seek laughter.
A strange dream I had recently:
I was looking down at a person, a man. He was severely injured, more like shredded, and thrashing about wildly on some sort of inclined restraining device. There were several beings/creatures surrounding, hovering over, alternately ripping his flesh away with dark sharp claws. Their backs were to me and I was very close, more among them than behind. I couldn’t make them out very well, and was more than a little grateful for that.
I was unable to look away, or to intervene. A disembodied observer with a front row seat in my own private Hell. As I watched this horrific spectacle, what was transpiring gradually began to shift. The tearing claws and strips of torn flesh all becoming more translucent, softer. More energy than matter. It was as if the “flesh” that was being torn away was now being replaced with something else entirely. Something more fluid, more ethereal, was being integrated with what had been a man’s torn body. A horrific assault becoming a strangely beautiful, yet still terrifying transformation.
Soon, this bizarre process was completed. A semitransparent and translucent being, glowing with a soft golden light, lay before me. The others had withdrawn. I had an unobstructed view, but there are no words that can fully describe what I was seeing.
Immediately my perspective shifted, to that of the being on the table. I was that being! The disjointed sense of horror I has been experiencing instantly became the very intimate grip of sheer terror. I looked out, and standing before me were the beings that had done this. All all of them looking exactly alike, exactly like what I had become. What they had done to me, they were that.
They came closer, silently expressing a powerful emotion, as if taking infinitely perverse joy in their work. An even greater sense of terror surged at the sight of this odd welcoming party – their communal joy in all this madness – overwhelming – pushing me to insanity. This emotion they were projecting was itself more terrifying, more invasive and overpowering, than all that had just transpired. They were reaching out to me, for me, to realize and accept I was no longer who and what I had been – to share their joy that I was gone and we were one…
No going back. Nothing left of me, nothing I could recognize as “me”. In that instant there came a great release. A dissipation of all the fear, a merging into the experiencing of it all, as I realized I had always been this. Only now was able to see in this way, to share in this inexplicable bliss…
I awoke immediately, and smiled.
[End note: These 'others' appeared very much like luminous transparent highly complex 4D versions of the beings in the hyper-reality artwork of Alex Grey (no relation - or is there? *L*)]
Today’s my birthday, so I’m giving myself the gift of (laziness) a free blog post by re-posting one of my comments on the Yahoo allspirit group here. Something I’ve been meaning to address, and deserves a better treatment, but this one’s already written:
“On 8/15/2011 12:47 PM, zen_rascal_0 wrote:
> >……….. Did not Gautama the Buddha teach of the method to eliminate suffering?……….namaste, thomas
Yes, so we are told. The question is how well do people understand that teaching?
The 4 Noble Truths (actually ennobling – an important difference) are a description of Buddha’s experience/realization – of Buddha Nature. It is not the prescription for action most read into it.
Gautama was aware that you can’t hand awakening/release from suffering to anyone. They must realize and release themselves. It’s there for “those with eyes to see” as another teacher would later say, and appears as something else entirely to the rest.
The desire to end suffering can never end suffering. There is an end, but no method can work. Such effort is attachment and forms the trap, and Buddha was pointing out this trap. Properly seen, it falls away effortlessly, having never been a trap at all.
From Wikipedia (my comments in brackets) :
1. Suffering does exist
2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
(Becomes obvious when looked at, and desire is understood in the broadest sense of wanting anything to be other than it is [not just materialistic/sensual sorts of desires].)
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path
(OK – Here’s the part people gloss over and just jump onto the path without serious reflection. Doing things – doing anything at all – is not cessation – so “practice” as used here cannot refer to doing anything any certain way. It must be referring to a “practice” (daily experience) of realizing the truth in all those aspects of life as they are, as they arise, with no attachment to them, and no desire for them to be other than they are in that moment. In essence, they are already “right”. We do not need to make them so – we need only see it is already so and cannot be otherwise).
People spend lifetimes on the Eightfold Path, never questioning “Right”, assuming it is referring to a counter force to “wrong”, thereby perpetuating the cycle of delusion and suffering in their practice itself. “Right” on this path is not right/wrong at all (those are attachments – struggle – more suffering). Not judgmental (attachment) nonsense (suffering), but realization of how things rightly naturally are. The “Eight” are not doings, but aspects (folds) of being that are realized to be so – aka “Suchness”.
A more literal interpretation (the common interpretation), that the Eightfold Path comprises things to do/cultivate via practices (vs realize directly), clearly has some positive personal and social benefits (which aligns with what people really want – as awakening offers nothing they don’t already have). Gautama knew very few would awaken, so the teachings were structured in a way to keep the rest busy and working for betterment of their lives/societies. A built-in self-help/social program. This is fine, and is at the core of Buddhism’s practices and its practitioners’ service/example to humanity, but is not the core of Buddha’s teaching – which is FAR too simple and profound to be widely realized.
Practicing cessation, is not cessation.
All around the Dharma Wheel,
The Monk he chased the Ego.
The Monk he stopped to pull up his sock,
Pop! Goes the Ego.
Half a cup of worldly cares,
Half a cup Nirvana.
Drinking in awareness itself,
Pop! Goes the Ego.
“No-thought”or “No-mind” is the natural “space” in which thoughts arise, awareness that is always there, but never the subject/object of thought.
Thoughts can be ceaseless, or have small gaps, or vary long stretches between. The “problem” comes from there being no way for you to know/quantify these gaps. No way to grasp their nature, or measure their length as “no one is home” and passage of time is not recognized (self and time are conceptual/thought/knowledge based). You can never catch it, as there is nothing to catch. Even if you did, you’d never know.
Most often we are aware of these gaps as a hindsight sort of thing. Realizing “no one was home” for a second, that for a while there things had just been flowing without effort or thought, without doer or thinker. As soon as focus/attention is given, thinking resumes.
Focus adds the act of focusing, someone doing that, and something to focus on. The trinity of subject/object “duality”. All of it conceptual scaffolding, arising in/as no-mind.
Ultimately these are all one, so there is nothing to do. The space/peace/bliss between/around thoughts and feelings is also their source. It is there with/as or without them. There is nothing to gain by stopping thought, and nothing to lose when they go quiet at times. It is not a problem.
It is minds function to make something out of nothing. Pretty hard to read this if it didn’t.
I’ve read accounts of people having, then getting hung up on so called “peak experiences” or “glimpses.” Some describe much wilder/more powerful stuff than I have experienced. Whatever the manifestation, they can leave you felling a bit left behind when they’ve passed. Wanting the experience again, and for it to never end.
Easy to get caught up in trying to regain that, to want make it permanent. To mistake these glimpses/side effects for Awakening – and assuming “full enlightenment” must consist of some permanent/ever-present peak experience state.
People who seek this are the most hardcore seekers of all. Having had some genuinely powerful experience(s) they redouble their efforts, and their attachment to regaining something once found but now gone missing grows with it. They have only one more concept to transcend, but it’s just too beautiful to drop. Instead, a “more spiritual” self develops to carry on. A self now more resistant to the obvious truth, and more committed to attaining something apart. Their seeking has developed into a quest.
Peak experiences can blow ego/self out the door for a while, making awareness appear to come forward when your ego/false-self weakens and to recede when your story re-asserts itself. You do not lose awareness as such an experience fades, you just return to the default of choosing ego/self/story over it. Usually a force of habit “Devil you know vs. devil you don’t know” sort of thing. The thing is, all of this is This.
In all this, Awareness is always present. Glimpses are like an interruption of a dream, and may alter the dream going forward. In and of themselves they’re rarely enough to cause awakening, even when very powerful and or/frequent.
Awareness is not peak, not lull. Not any particular experience, feeling, or state. Nor does it grant them or deny them. Peaks will come, they will go.
Awareness clings to nothing, chases nothing. Presents as everything.
With Awakening comes direct understanding that all experience is transient/impermanent, all thought/feeling/sensation is not only arising in awareness, but is awareness itself. There is nothing, that is not already This.